Rated R for the ultra-violence that I seem to be watching more of, despite the fact that I claim not to gravitate towards these kinds of movies. It's the kind that makes you feel each punch, stab, and bullet wound that the characters experience, but with the knowledge that, for some reason, they'll get back up and subject themselves to even more brutality. There's language too, but that all seems moot when you see multiple bone breaks and bodies everywhere. Just a ton of death and carnage everywhere. R.
DIRECTOR: Ilya Naishuller
Here's the score: Most of my kids are fed, except for the one who can't think of what he wants to eat. He's been picking at food and seems distracted, so I'm going to try to knock out as much of this blog as quickly as possible. Does this make me a bad father? Maybe. But at least I'm not Hutch in this movie. (See, I make connections.) I have an hour until the baby goes down for her nap, when I clean the house and get stuff ready for dinner. There is also the aggressive nagging that I don't feel like writing today, considering that it is my last day of summer vacation before I start teaching students tomorrow. Keep all of this in mind when I ramble like a maniac about the thing that I watched while I was folding laundry way past my bedtime.
I don't know why I added Nobody to my DVD queue. I really don't. Once in a blue moon, I'll scroll through DVD.com's New Releases and willy-nilly add stuff to the top of my list. Knowing that I love Bob Odenkirk and that this seems like a bonkers role for him, I decided to give it a whirl. Now, I've been lamenting my dislike for movies like John Wick and Gunpowder Milkshake on this blog for a while. It wasn't like I was going to be surprised by the tone of the film being like John Wick. Heck, the trailers were all like, "From the people who brought you John Wick". I can't even be sure that this isn't a John Wick spin-off. And the movie is John Wick with someone else in the lead role. So what is it about Nobody that was way more entertaining than John Wick? I hope that over the course of this blog, I figure out what makes it good. (See, it's a surprise for everyone.)
I won't deny that Bob Odenkirk and Christopher Lloyd beating the crap out of everyone doesn't have its appeal. It totally does. If I completely submit to the fact that the movie is based on the notion that two people shouldn't be action stars, yet manage to pull it off...there's something there. Because I'll tell you what. Even with my enjoyment of this film, I have to say that I'm really tired of retired super-killer coming out of retirement over something mild. Also, making Russian mobsters the villains? Is that literally the John Wick movies or am I forgetting something? It just seems all so familiar. But if I had to push beyond the Bob Odenkirk and Christopher Lloyd thing, Nobody might have some value out of the fact that it isn't slick.
Nobody feels like the garage band version of John Wick. I mean, that's 100% an illusion put on by the studio and the filmmakers. I know that Nobody only exists because Wick is a phenomenon. (Note: Part of me is really tempted to watch the John Wick sequels, but I try not to hate-watch things.) But there's almost nothing sexy about Nobody. It thrives in its own grittiness. This is the suburban version of the story. As violent as the film is, the movie just screams the suburbs. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised that a sequel to Nobody might take place in a Walmart and an Applebee's. It just is all jeans-and-tee-shirts. It's power-rock, not German techno. This is all window dressing, I suppose. I shouldn't be changing my opinion on the ultra-violence subgenre because of the mise-en-scene, but I can't deny that it makes the series that much more approachable.
I also think that Hutch comes across as more sympathetic than John Wick. Hutch embraces the thing that makes middle age so lamentable. His wife is unattracted to him. His kids disrespect him, for the most part. To stay off the radar, he has to stay mediocre. In terms of metaphors for adulthood, Nobody actually works really well. Hutch has this burning desire to kill something for a good cause. (It's not like he's a serial killer so much as he's really good at killing people.) But he welcomes disrespect because he loves others. He chooses to put on this mask because his life is no longer his own. I didn't meant to make this connection with my intro paragraph, but that's what life is like as an adult. If I had my druthers, I wouldn't have to worry about feeding kids. I would be waking up after noon, eating garbage all day while playing video games for an irresponsible amount of time, and then pass out in front of the TV without caring about my health. Instead, I try to find solace in five minute writing bursts as kids ask for things constantly. I run on a treadmill so I don't die young. With Hutch, he allows people to ridicule him for being timid.
It's weird what makes a character heroic. Knowing that this was from the guy / guys who made John Wick, we had to assume that Hutch wasn't going to pick up this specific set of Murder Batman skills. When his house is robbed, I think I contextually spoiled it by saying that he wasn't killing the theives for a reason. I mean, it's odd that those characters barely came into play with the story, instead acting as a step on a Rube Goldberg machine to get Hutch against the Russians. But I do appreciate the moral choices that Hutch makes in a moment. Hutch knows that he could rip them apart, but then notices that the .38 special wasn't loaded. His son was there and he knew that his kid was going to get punched, but he chose to allow himself to humiliated while acting as an example of mercy, even if his son never really understood what that moment was about.
I'm confused about Becca's story in the movie, though. Becca and Hutch are on the outs. It's implied that she fell in love with Hutch, the CIA auditor (I know that we don't know what organization Hutch worked for. Let it go) not Hutch the inventory guy for a metal shop. She is aroused when old Hutch comes out and kills some folks, but not enough to 180. Then their lives get destroyed by Hutch's choice to find a kitty cat bracelet that was just under the couch and murder some dudes. It's in this moment where she's horrified by who Hutch really is, despite the fact that the film makes it clear that she married that guy. What does she want out of Hutch? Does she like the idea of Hutch, but not the reality of Hutch? If so, that's kind of a toxic relationship because Hutch can't really do anything right in that scenario. I mean, the tag at the end with her requesting a basement so Hutch could have his kill room / panic room implies that she's made peace with who Hutch really is, but this all seems like a band-aid for someone who doesn't really know what they want.
But I'm going to leave this on, "I liked it." I'm not sure why I liked it. I just know that I did. It's a fun movie that involves a lot of violence and trades cool for relatable. I suppose that makes some degree of sense. But Average Joe beats up bad guys can be a pretty good time.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.