The movie starring Bob Odenkirk demonstrates that there are no real nobodies, just silent antiheroes whose patience eventually runs out.
We like movies in which seemingly everyday Joe’s and Josephine’s play the protagonists who crack. It is, in a nutshell, the “Falling Down” model, that great Joel Schumacher movie where Michael Douglas demanded answers as to why his hamburger looked nothing like the one on the picture menu. Or the “Taken” model, where Liam Neeson, a father, and his troubled relationship with a teenage daughter, suddenly finds himself beating the living daylights out of half of Paris to save her. Without forgetting John Wick’s fundamental trilogy of the widower who destroys everything to avenge his dog. “Nobody“, and the title could not be more fitting, also navigates similar waters. Hutch is a nobody, a mediocre man, the kind you wouldn’t even notice at the bus stop or in the grocery-store line. His wife apparently only counts on him to take out the trash and his kids only ask for him at mealtimes. Every day it’s the same old same old, and all roads lead to the same destination. But one fine day, something clicks. Some stalkers, a bad night and general exhaustion lead Hutch to free the caged beast trapped inside.
“Nobody” actually fits into a film register tradition that goes back even much further than the stories above: those tales of what appear to be vulgar, ordinary men for whom some stray has broken the camel’s back. Or maybe it’s just that there’s no such thing as plain old dullards, but rather well house-trained antiheroes shouldering more of the burden than they’re entitled to. The film shines in its statement of intent, with the succession of identical plans that serve to describe our leading man’s lugubrious existence, and also in the dramatic development, not restricted to him kickstarting engines to satisfy audiences’ expectations. The story devotes a considerable part of its time delving into the nuances of the character and setting the sceneto ensure audiences are practically ‘Jonesing’ for the moment he snaps, have even become understanding of his reasons why. And when that time comes, it doesn’t disappoint. “Nobody” becomes an invaluable breaking point that explodes into a series of excellently filmed and edited shootings and fights that leaves us no other option but to surrender tour protagonist’s personal crusade. And he delivers all this with a sharp-witted approach, playing with the clichés of the genre and sharpening the absurdities of the explosions of violence. He laughs, for example, at the tendency for operatic overtones often present in this type of films, and also parodies the stories of second chances and (re) united families.
The movie wouldn’t be what it is without Bob Odenkirk. The star of one of the great series in recent years, “Better Call Saul”, shows that he can also reign in a genre where, according to physical canons, he could be condemned to a supporting actor’s role, and wiped out by the second act. But he makes the role his own and elevates the story thanks to the inevitable empathy he arouses in viewers as he takes on a role nobody expected him to play. And we couldn’t go before mentioning his sidekick in the great Christopher Lloyd, condemned forever to his pigeonhole, who for many will always be Doc Brown from the “Back to the Future” saga. Here, he’s having a ball, rifle in hand, proving that dishing out the slaps is an ageless affair. In the end, “Nobody” is exactly about that, about seeing unlikely faces doing unexpected things. It’s about venting spleen over a history of injustice that cannot go unpunished and the realization that any being, however conventional they might appear, may have a few jobs up their sleeves and live alternative lives. Watching Hutch reach the decision that enough is enough reminds us that okay, we might be a nobody in the eyes of others, but we will always have fiction to showcase what happens when the potential of anonymous individuals is scorned.