• 10 Apr - 16 Apr, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Bob Odenkirk plays the improbably named Hutch Mansell, a milquetoast everyman whose daily routine has grown as tired as his chilly marriage. When his house is set upon by a couple of low-rent thieves, he’s set on a mission to right a wrong, revealing an adeptness for violence that’s been kept far away from his family.

It’s a film cooked up from some overly familiar ingredients yet Kolstad, along with Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller on vibrant form, finds a way to make it all feel oddly vital. There’s a simple, shaggy charm to watching Hutch rediscover his particular set of skills, kicked off by a fantastically well-designed bus sequence that sees him scrappily take on a group of obnoxious younger men. He’s an imperfect yet resilient fighter, believably hampered by age, making him a character far more thrilling to watch than say, any one of Neeson’s no-stakes superheroes.

The escalation that follows which dominoes one good deed into one savage fight into something far greater helps Nobody avoid the storytelling-by-numbers trap that so many revenge films often fall into, mimicking a video game with the hero going from one end-of-level boss to the next. The fight scenes are also awfully effective, a jolt of brutal violence captured with a specificity that allows us to keep up with every punch and kick, a base-level competency that so many action films fail to master. Perhaps the film’s greatest ace is its relative lack of smugness, Kolstad’s script briskly racing ahead without wasting time to stand back and remark on how smart and ironic it all is, quips kept to a minimum, a lesson other action screenwriters could do with learning.

Odenkirk is a surprisingly physically adept anchor and while sure, the trope of a man only really being a man when he embraces his violent side is not great, he tries his best to work around the regressive nature of the genre, turning Hutch into a man somewhat earnestly trying to figure out the right balance of alpha and beta.

It’s all very been here, seen that yet there’s something infinitely pleasing about a film doing very little but doing it very well, knowing just how high to aim without aiming any higher, aware of exactly what it can and can’t do. In a tight 91 minutes, without any bloat, Nobody gives us exactly what we want.