Nobody: A Film Review

Nobody is Bob Odenkirk's first venture into playing the action hero.

Nobody: A Film Review
Nobody stars Bob Odenkirk as an unlikely action hero.

While people with an addiction await their fix with the final series of Better Call Saul, its star, Bob Odenkirk, may ease their withdrawal symptoms somewhat with his full-length movie Nobody, released in June 2021. In the film, he plays Hutch Mansell, a decent, hard-working husband and father - a "Mr. Ordinary" - a role that is far from the sleazy anti-hero lawyer Saul Goodman.

Sometimes, the man you don't notice is the most dangerous.

Mansell lives with his wife and children in a quiet suburb and leads an everyday family life. Director Ilya Naishuller emphasizes the "ordinariness" by showing Mansell doing the same mundane things each day, one week after another. He is so ordinary that he almost every week brings the garbage out late on garbage day, just as the collection truck disappears down the street. Each day, he works at an engineering company as an accountant and part-owner. The type of engineering work the company does is not specified, but that fact is irrelevant to the story.

This systematic way of life would likely continue for decades, except that fate has other plans. On his daily bus ride to work, a group of young thugs climbs on board and starts to harass passengers. Suddenly, a switch flips in Mansell's head, and this ordinary guy changes into a not-so-ordinary one. A semi-dormant alter ego seems to be taking over. Without elaborating and spoiling the plot, the hooligans quickly discover that they have taken on the wrong guy to their detriment.

Bob Odenkirk stars as Hutch Mansell, an underestimated and overlooked dad and husband.

The basis of this story - an ordinary guy pushed to extremes to protect innocent people - is hardly new. The plot has been the basis of numerous previous films, from Charles Bronson's Vigilante in the Death Wish series to Mel Gibson's Ransom film and Liam Neeson's various Taken films. Two factors make Nobody different, however. First, unlike the characters in those other films, Hutch Mansell is no ordinary guy. Second, executing what might otherwise be a humdrum cliché story is unique. While those other films are loosely based on reasonably credible scenarios, the story in Nobody is outrageously off-the-wall.

It's an understatement to say that the plot is wildly implausible. Indeed, the film's subtitle could be "Abandon all expectations of reality, ye who enter here." That's not a negative feature, provided the viewer likes that adventure on screen. Specifically, that viewer must be into high-octane action movies and be turned on by many screechy car chases, crazy gun battles, pyro-technicolor explosions, and gory close-combat fighting. Yet (for people like me who like this kind of thing), it's an immensely entertaining 92 minutes of over-the-top action and cliché characters. At the top of such characters is a cabaret-singing Russian psychopathic crime boss, Yulian Kuznetsov (played by Aleksey Serebryakov), his underlings, and Hutch's bed-ridden geriatric father (played by Christopher Lloyd). He, like his son, is far from what he seems.

Nobody is a good action movie with likable people.

This film is Bob Odenkirk's first venture into playing the action hero. In Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, he is a morally unethical, sleazy lawyer, but he's never violent. His role in Nobody is the polar opposite - an all-action hour and a half of total escapism, where he showcases rarely-seen sides of his acting repertoire. It's the part he says he always wanted to play but was never sure he could pull off. He pulls it off here and does it well, delivering the goods for viewers who enjoy that.

Nobody Final Comments

Nobody stars Bob Odenkirk as an unlikely action hero. It's quite a different part from his Saul Goodman character in Better Call Saul. Do I recommend the film? Yes, I do. However, it's worth mentioning that the film is not for everybody, yet it ticks the boxes for people who enjoy full-on action movies. I want to think that this film exists in the same universe as the John Wick films.

This review does not reveal plotlines beyond the film's promotional material.