Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk is an unassuming family man whose appetite for violence is reawakened after a home invasion in Nobody (in cinemas April 1). Daniel Rutledge loved this increasingly crazy fight-fest.
Nobody will definitely be one of 2021’s most enjoyable films. This is a gleefully violent action-comedy that strikes a masterful tone and consistently delivers thrills for its lean 92-minute running time.
I went into it expecting something it wasn’t and much of my delight came from the wild gear-shifting in how it evolves. If you’re lucky enough to have seen no trailers nor read much about it, do yourself a favour and stop reading this review, go buy a ticket and watch it without finding out anything more.
I thought it was going to be a light-hearted take on the Death Wish formula, not knowing about the titular nobody’s hidden past and secret master killer skills. There is a really enjoyable slow-burn first act before it matures into an increasingly crazy fight-fest. That quiet start as he’s playing a mild-mannered family man living a monotonous day-to-day is surprisingly effective, especially considering how excessive things get as the bodies start to pile up.
The action is very well directed and fantastically fun. It’s certainly not as gorgeously clear and precise as that of the John Wick films, to which Nobody seems to be being compared (and shares a screenwriter and producer). It has a messier style, but one similarity is that it thankfully relies more on tight choreography than fake CGI. And boy does it celebrate its R-rating, with occasional stabs of cringe-inducing nastiness layered onto the mostly joyful carnage. There’s a wonderful rhythm in how this film ratchets up the action sequences in a way that makes sense for the characters and the story, but also means we as the audience get to enjoy lots of well-paced variety.
Bob Odenkirk deserves a lot of praise for his lead performance here. He’s got to be one of the most affable blokes in Hollywood, even if he is most well-known to most viewers here as a particularly slimy lawyer who rubs shoulders with particularly evil criminals. It’s surprising how well he fits this role. It’s not a Liam Neeson-style handbrake turn into being a hard man but rather a different flavour of that immense Odenkirk charm that fans already know.
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This movie gets goofier and goofier in a way that may turn some viewers off by the insane climactic gun battle, but if you get on board with it you’ll laugh your arse off right to the end. I certainly did. Things end up in a way that will easily allow a sequel which could potentially be good, but I’ll be very happy if this is a one-off, standalone cult favourite. A sequel simply wouldn’t be able to pull the same trick this one does in terms of just how it escalates. It was an awesome ride I can’t wait to take again.