Capsule Review: Nobody (2021)

While John Wick: Chapter 4 won’t be arriving until — at the time of writing — May 2022, at least fans of the franchise or anyone looking for a violent action movie featuring a protagonist with a very particular set of skills might want to check out Nobody for the time being.

That protagonist in question is played by Bob Odenkirk, best known for his role as Saul Goodman in both Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul series. He plays Hutch Mansell, a nobody or so it seems who works as an accountant in his father-in-law’s (Michael Ironside) manufacturing company. He lives a mundane life too, as evidently shown during the earlier scene in a repeated montage showing his same old routines from missing the garbage truck every morning to dealing with a seemingly loveless marriage with his wife, Becca (Connie Nielsen).

Then one day, Hutch gradually turns into a different person following a home invasion that led to his little daughter’s (Paisley Cadorath’s Abby) missing kitty-cat bracelet.

Bob Odenkirk, Christopher Lloyd and RZA in "Nobody" (2021)

Written by Derek Kolstad, the same guy who gave us the John Wick franchise, he’s basically using the same template and tweak his story a little differently. Instead of seeing Keanu Reeves’ John Wick forces to revert to his old violent way after a group of Russian gangsters killed his beloved puppy, Odenkirk’s Hutch’s violent personality is triggered by a series of unfortunate events, beginning from the home invasion to his little daughter’s missing bracelet and an encounter with a group of young thugs in a bus.

The latter is where director Ilya Naishuller of Hardcore Henry fame shines the most, even the otherwise monotonous storyline throughout the earlier stretch does take quite a while to get here. The bus fight is easily the most memorable setpiece in Nobody. And although it’s not the stylised kind seen in the John Wick movies, Naishuller knows well enough how to stage a brutal action scene that feels both visceral, gritty and thrilling.

The subsequent action scenes from the obligatory but well-staged shootouts to car chases are mostly pale in comparison to the bus fight. The movie also takes a while to introduce Alexey Serebryakov’s role as the main antagonist Yulian and frankly, he’s pretty much a standard-issue Russian villain. Bob Odenkirk, on the other hand, surprises me the most who manages to pull off a convincing portrayal from mild-mannered to a violent man. Equally worth mentioning here is Christopher Lloyd (yes, that Christopher Lloyd), shows up as Hutch’s retired dad and in some latter scenes, we get to see him in action arming with a shotgun.

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