Nobody Film Director: Ilya Naischuller
Nobody Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Aleksey Serebryakov, Christopher Llyod
Nobody Movie Rating: 2 stars
There are “a lot of Russians,” as a character in “Nobody” comments at one point. If Hollywood has shown us anything, however, it’s that, in general, an American with enough motivation will do anything – and more. Especially when you follow the American’s nice suburban family at the meal that he has prepared with a lot of love and longing. In the case of Nobody, not only could he, but even his father, a retired FBI agent who had settled into a nursing home before old westerns in a frumpy cardigan could put these Russians in their place.
Nonetheless, Bob Odenkirk is an improvement on the traditional white American hero, a nobody who, in his aging, reticent drudgery, long days and missed garbage pickups, can be the everyman the film hopes it will be held up to be.
And when you pull off every stereotype of the Russian villain with bad manners, a bad temper, flashy clothes and a black aide with an Olympic background, there can be no other person than director Ilya Naishuller pulling it off. Ilya, a Russian director, actor, producer, screenwriter and frontman of an indie rock band, has a real Russian oligarch as a father.
Odenkirks Hutch Mansell is married to a woman more successful than he is, works a nondescript job for his in-laws, takes the bus to work, and returns home to a household that largely ignores him. His world is turned upside down when his house is broken into and he lets two clumsy robbers get away with what little cash (“I use a debit card,” he tells them) without hitting his golf club. That’s typical Hutch of his family and condescending in-laws.
Of course it isn’t. The film keeps it suitably vague as to who exactly Hutch was working for to explain his killing abilities, why he conducts secret radio calls, why the FBI redacted all his details, and why those who know him by name, famous or so know tattoo, go scurry. Except for the stubborn Russians, of course.
Villain Yulian (Serebryakov) is equally amorphous, sitting on cash for the obshak — Russian for a community pool created by criminals to help one another — and constantly venturing into his downfall while Hutch mows down everything he does send for him.
As Hutch’s beautiful wife, Rebecca, Nielsen has little to do but welcome him back, tend his wounds, look after his children, remember old times, and ask no questions. But that’s not the film’s worst crime for her. In the fantasy of Nobody, Rebecca’s love for Hutch is only rekindled when he turns out to be a hero after all.