The promotional material for Nobody features a grizzled Bob Odenkirk, a hilarious comic who has pulled off incredible range for over a decade within his tragicomedy oeuvre in the Breaking Bad universe, beating the pulp out of thugs and gunning down crooks. For viewers who have followed Odenkirk’s career from his sketch comedy days on Mr. Show to his time playing Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, this action-packed visual is cool but also very weird. It almost looks like a fake trailer made for Mr. Show; we eagerly wait for David Cross to pop out. But while jarring, Nobody is actually not so different from the usual character type in the Bob Odenkirk’s wheelhouse.
Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, a private family man who has worked hard to distance himself from his former life of crime. Even if that means not drawing attention to himself when actual, unrelated crime is happening to him. When that’s compromised, however, Mansell activates the ultimate exit strategy that will not only rub out anyone trying to kill him, but also provide the deepest reset to his life yet.
Just like Saul Goodman, some of his sketch personas on Mr. Show, and Odenkirk’s performance in Netflix’s wry noir Girlfriend’s Day, Odenkirk is portraying yet another sad sack who is striving for reinvented inner strength so that the character can ultimately live comfortably within their own skin. It isn’t a repetitive choice for Odenkirk to keep playing versions of this personality because each variation is extremely different – that’s no different for his work in Nobody. By positioning this role in a brutal action movie, Bob Odenkirk takes on more physical responsibilities to command the screen, which he absolutely fulfils, but he’s also given the additional task to challenge the audience with Hutch. Hutch may have his personal priorities in order, but he’s someone who relishes in the pain he knows he can inflict on those who threaten him. While the film definitely wants the audience to be mesmerized by the tight choreography and cheer throughout the fights, the aftershock of these scenes leaves us questioning if our lead is, in fact, an anti-hero we should hold in contempt.
At its core, Nobody is a routine action flick heavily influenced by the John Wick franchise. But while that sounds derivative, you can’t knock Nobody for delivering exactly what it says on the tin. The film has been graced by a memorable production team (helmed by Hardcore Henry’s director Ilya Naishuller) and a powerhouse performance by Bob Odenkirk that, alone, elevates the movie.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie