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Film Review

Nobody (2021)

IMDB link
Running time: 1h 32min
Directed by Ilya Naishuller
Written by Derek Kolstad
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen

Nobody is an R-rated action film that gets progressively crazier as the bodies pile up. The film stars Bob Odenkirk (known especially as Saul from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul), who proves he can do action as well as drama and comedy. I was pleasantly surprised by Nobody; the most important aspects of an action film, the action and the pacing, are both on point.

I am glad that Nobody is R-rated in the vein of the classics of the genre, instead of the neutered PG-13 garbage that has been force-fed to audiences in the last 2 and a half decades or so. To be completely fair, however, I should note that Nobody is not completely out of line and daring in this respect; films such as John Wick (2014), Logan (2017), and Joker (2019) being recent R-rated examples of Hollywood not always pulling its punches to appeal to as many as possible. Without the commercial and critical success of these R-rated films, Nobody might not have gotten made (though its budget was only $16 million). While I am not overly optimistic about the state of the film industry, it is a positive sign that not quite everything is mushed into barely palatable goo for (almost) all age groups and demographics in the neverending unholy quest for the holy dollar.

Bob Odenkirk is probably not someone one would have thought to cast as the lead in an action film, but it works well

The film gets more and more unrealistic as it goes on, which I was not expecting since it starts off relatively grounded and stars Bob Odenkirk. Eventually it reaches almost Commando (1985) levels of ridiculousness, which is a double-edged sword; while some undoubtedly do enjoy such nonsense, others might be put off. I love Commando, but I might have preferred Nobody more if it took itself more seriously. Odenkirk is just not in the same realm of absurdity as Schwarzenegger, and thus, while definitely entertaining, the final third of Nobody felt too over the top for me. When I eventually rewatch the film I might not be bothered by this, though. I should note that Odenkirk does well with the role and any problem I had lies with my own expectations and the script.

The villains are not particularly great or very memorable in my opinion, but they work well enough for the film. While it is certainly cliched, having them be Russian gangsters is validated by recent events. The acting is fine for an action movie. The editing is a bit jarring at the beginning of the film, but otherwise I have no complaints about technical aspects. Overall there is not much to complain about that would be an objective flaw instead of just a matter of taste and opinion. The film achieves its goal of being a well-made, entertaining action flick, it never aspires to be groundbreaking high art, and it does not need to do so.

These bozos don’t know who they’re messing with
Aleksey Serebryakov plays Yulian Kuznetsov, a Russian gangster with anger issues

Nobody is a very good action film that does not quite match up to the best of the genre, but is worth watching for all who enjoy the genre. Time will tell how memorable it will be, but I will be rewatching it at least once at some point since, even though it is not quite great, it stands out amid a vast sea of garbage and mediocrity.

Rating: 7.0 / 10

Times I had seen this film prior to this viewing: 0

Would I want to rewatch this film? Yes

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