As a compulsive moviegoer at a time when the surprise factor has become almost an anomaly, and after years of adding titles to my ever-growing list of viewings, I find few things more gratifying than the fact of facing a feature film with some preconceived ideas so that, without waiting for it, it ends up completely subverting – and for the better – my expectations .
This is precisely what the magnificent ‘Nobody’ has achieved. Since we saw its first trailer, Ilya Naishuller’s new film after ‘Hardcore Henry’ invited many – including myself – to think about a kind of apocryphal version of the ‘John Wick’ saga. However, despite sharing a good part of the bases of their genetic code – in fact, they share Derk Kolstad as a screenwriter – the resemblance ends up being only tangential.
Ultimately, this rough diamond goes far beyond the de rigueur set pieces expected of it; unfolding in front of the stalls 90 concise, lucid and truly spectacular minutes. An hour and a half that portrays with exquisite acidity the midlife crisis in a kind of ‘American Beauty’ loaded to the brim with blood, gunpowder, shrapnel and a charm uniquely comparable to the overwhelming charisma of its main star.
Come for the piles of corpses, stay for their savage intelligence
Although it may seem like an action movie with a background and a speech relegated to a second term, ‘Nobody’ is actually a dramedia that spreads its existentialism with piles of corpses. A small and brilliant anomaly that makes his condition clear during his first couple of minutes, in which he condenses the protagonist’s routine at a montage blow and that, in the hands of another responsible team, would probably have ended up occupying a tedious first act.
This clever maneuver is only the first sample of an unusually accurate narrative exhibition that spends a good part of its time on what is truly important in a production of any kind: building, bringing to life and developing a round character. A master of ceremonies with which to establish a relationship of empathy which, in this case, is instantaneous thanks, in part, to a Bob Odenkirk who makes every little grimace and every look a declaration of intent.
Showing off a tone marked by a comedy more corrosive than it seems, always present but not at all intrusive, and that infiltrates the footage distancing it from its counterparts, ‘Nobody’ displays a reading about the family obligations imposed by social conventions, and about that false need to repress ourselves and adapt our life to what is expected of us and not to what we really want to be. Simple? Can. Cash? To spades.
We all have a potential Mitch Mansell inside us, and Naishuller, fully aware of this, squeezes every last drop of this link with his protagonist so that, when violence ends up unleashing without quarter, we do not detach from him for a single second; which enriches even more if possible action sequences at the forefront of the medium and that have nothing to envy their competitors.
Distancing itself from the ultra-stylized spirit of ‘John Wick’ fights and the complex choreographies of ‘The Raid’ and other Indonesian hits, the brutal – and artisan – set pieces of ‘Nobody’, enveloped by a halo of self-awareness, are marked by formal sobriety, by the absence of artifice, by impeccable camera work and planning, and by the use of clean and precise cuts as the main tool at the service of the show.
If we add to this ensemble a first-rate photography direction that should not go unnoticed under any circumstances, courtesy of Ari Aster’s leading PDO, Pawel Pogorzelski, and a musical selection brimming with blues, soul or swing classics; ‘Nobody’ ends up transcending his playful spirit to adopt the form of great cinema to be appreciated free of prejudice. Because if, You may have seen it before … but never this way.
Draw of 5 double tickets
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