Nobody Synopsis: Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk), a suburban dad, overlooked husband, nothing neighbor — a virtual “nobody.” When two thieves break into his home one night, Hutch’s unknown long-simmering rage is ignited and propels him on a brutal path that will uncover dark secrets he fought to leave behind.
As the John Wick franchise has grown from cult favorite to blockbuster success, old-school actioners have received a newfound appreciation from modern audiences. The genre continues to evolve from its nitty-gritty 80s roots, with frenetic new voices like Chad Stahelski, Gareth Evans, and David Leitch punching their own stylistic stamp on familiar trappings.
With the latest action/comedy hybrid Nobody, Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller cements himself as another dynamic voice in the action sphere. Naishuller’s gleefully relentless blood bath indulges in the genre’s extravagant allures. Simply put, Nobody might be the first great crowd-pleaser since last year’s theatrical shutdown.
Where some action films bask in their machismo grit, Nobody embraces a refreshingly self-aware comedic streak. John Wick screenwriter Derek Kolstad sets the groundwork for a plethora of playful surprises, subverting expectations similar to how the nebbish Hutch violently shocks his prey. After establishing his expertise in action mechanics with prior efforts, it’s a blast to see the writer now playing in the sand with his eccentric colorings. Between seeing an old fan-favorite blasting a shotgun (you can guess from the cast list) to Hutch retrieving his daughter’s missing kitty watch, Kolstad constantly pushes the lunacy with agreeable results.
All of Kolstad’s inventive touches set up Naishuller well for his brand of relentless carnage (seriously glad this guy is directing a studio film after Hardcore Henry, which still stands as one of the most innovative actioners in recent memory). Naishuller choreographs a delightful dance of brutal violence, implementing a plethora of smooth camera motions to highlight every bullet and blood splat. I love witnessing his reckless creativity behind the camera. Naishuller has a blast of dreaming up sequences that feel wholly unique to the long-standing genre.
None of these elements would work without Bob Odenkirk’s assured central performance. The beloved veteran feels tailor-made to play Hutch, with his agreeable presence serving as an unassuming facade for his hidden violent streak. While I wish the film provided Hutch with more dimension (Kolstad’s script occasionally touches upon paternal responsibilities – particularly for men pushing against traditional “hunter/gather” gender normative before eventually shying away), Odenkirk’s sincere delivery portrays the character’s insular conflictions with dramatic weight.
All and all, Nobody kicks all sorts of ass during its endlessly enjoyable runtime. Here’s to hoping this is the start of another dynamic action franchise.
Nobody hits theaters on March 26th.
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