Bob Odenkirk’s Hutch Mansell seems like your typical washed-up dad – he’s fallen into monotony, his wife Rebecca (Connie Nielsen) is distant from him, and he’s lost his son’s respect. It seems like he really is just a Nobody. Then you remember this film came from John Wick creator Derek Kolstad and Hardcore Henry creator Ilya Naishuller, and you realize you’re in for a fucking wild ride.
Kolstad transforms suburban father Hutch into Bob Wick, sending him down a path similarly travelled by Falling Down’s Michael Douglas – all it takes is his daughter’s cat bracelet disappearing following a break-in, and a switch in Hutch is flipped. Bob Odenkirk is an unstoppable beast, tearing through hordes of mobsters and soldiers like a knife through Russian butter. Odenkirk trained for two years to make sure he was could be the best Hutch he can be, and boy does it show – from visceral, pulpy bus ride beatdowns to lacerating lasagna-night fractures, he is a bonafide action star. What’s perfect about Odenkirk is his assuming, friendly appearance; you don’t expect your friendly, grill-master dad to be able to slide a splintered baseball bat through a trained mercenary’s chest, and that’s part of the sheer delight of watching Bob go to work.
This is possibly one of the greatest matchups of action creatives in a long time – Kolstad and Naishuller know exactly what the other is bringing, creating a delightful buffet of creative carnage to feast on. There are so many different types of mutilations, eviscerations, annihilations and utter obliterations to the human body in this, it’s clear that the pair love pulling from their shared toybox of death. There’s moments where it feels like an adult Home Alone, Hutch our adult Kevin Mccallister, except this time you won’t be walking off these traps. The creativity doesn’t just stop at the script, as some of the cinematography is beautifully dazzling, awash in neon-soaked downtown cityscapes or vibrant oranges washing us in their rich amber glow.
Something that can often undermine action films is how we explore the space – with all these bombastic explosions and cacophonous guns firing off, a stagnant camera can work against that kinetic flow. Fortunately, Nobody is a masterclass in how to shoot an action film. Our camera barrels through spaces and glides on the wind like a bullet, as we whiz around darkened home corridors or gigantic, tricked-out warehouse spaces. Guns dance through the air, our camera locked onto them as we follow them, enraptured as to its final destination. Naishuller directs with such an elegant precision to their action scenes that Nobody feels like a bloody ballet of carnage at times, as our needle drops of 70s hits and soul tunes punctuate the danse macabre of our performers, perfectly choregraphed to create the most death and destruction in the best of ways.
Some may accuse Kolstad of treading familiar ground, having an unassuming older man be this unstoppable badass, but Nobody feels aware of the shadow of John Wick looming over it, so it’s played in a far more tongue-in-cheek direction. The film isn’t just bloody, it’s bloody good fun – there’s a pulpy coating to everyone we meet, slightly heightened clichés that’re aware they’re clichés. Aleksei Serebryakov’s Yulian is your typical Russian mob boss, but he also loves a good song and dance, and he doesn’t shy away from showing off his moves. It’s comical reliefs like this that keep you entertained along the wild ride Kolstad and Naishuller take us on – action films shouldn’t be afraid to play into the absurdity and ridiculousness of the worlds they operate.
Nobody is one of the wildest rides of the year, an absolutely unadulterated funfair of violence. It’s a cinematic experience to behold and you absolutely must see this in a cinema. The cracks of femurs and puncturing of guts just doesn’t hit the same otherwise.
Nobody is available to watch in UK cinemas from Wednesday 9th June.