Movie Review: Nobody (2021)

TL;DR – Hutch is an auditor. A man who assesses risks and consequences. If he perceives you as a risk, he’s happy to be the consequence.

Review (warning: spoilers)

Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is nobody. Technically, this isn’t true. He’s a father of two kids, a husband to wife, Becca (Connie Neilsen), and holds down a day job as an office worker. So he’s somebody.

However, to police and law enforcement and Russian criminal syndicates, he’s a nobody. But that will change by the end of the movie.

When we’re introduced to Hutch, we sense straight away that he’s unhappy. There’s a lifelessness to him that comes from living a groundhog day existence repeating the same routine over and over again. He goes for a jog in the morning, takes out the garbage, makes a cup of coffee to go, catches the bus to work, clocks in at the metal fabrication company where he crunches numbers on a computer spreadsheet, clocks out, returns home where his kids mostly ignore him, and then goes to bed with no intimacy with his wife. On some days, he’ll vary his routine by doing chin ups at the bus stop shelter while staring at a poster of his wife who is a successful business woman.

The beginning sets wonderfully the struggle Hutch experiences with his mundane life. When one night two thieves break into his home and his son tackles one of them, Hutch has the opportunity to help and catch the thieves. Instead, he freezes and the thieves get away. When later Hutch is talking to his half-brother Harry over a radio in his office and reveals he let the thieves go because they were desperate and the gun they had wasn’t loaded, you realise Hutch is much more than he seems.

When his daughter can’t find her cat bracelet. Hutch springs into action, suspecting the two thieves and hunts them down to their apartment. But when he arrives, he discovers the thieves are parents themselves with a sick baby. Disappointed and angry, he leaves, takes out his frustrations on a brick wall and takes a bus home, bloody knuckles and all.

However, on the way, a bunch of hooligans crash their car at a red light. They’re drunk and stumble out to see the bus waiting at the intersection. When Hutch starts an inner monologue and begs the powers that be to let these hooligans onto the bus, you know Hutch will no longer be a nobody but a somebody. The scene unfolds as the thugs get on the bus and start harassing the passengers to the song I Gotta Be Me by Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme. When the gang singles out a young, female passenger, Hutch stands up with a grin, escorts the protesting bus driver out the front door and then turns around to face the thugs and proclaims in no uncertain terms that he’s going to send all these guys to the hospital (actually, he’s more blunt than that but you get the idea).

The fight scene had me on the edge of my seat and Hutch dishes out as much as he gets. It is by far the best action sequence in the entire film and carries immense weight because it’s the first time you see Hutch unleash the beast. It’s brutal, visceral, and completely spell binding. The camera work is brilliant and you can’t help but feel every hit to the face, dislocating bone, knife stab and breaking glass.

In the aftermath, Hutch feels alive. But what Hutch doesn’t know until later is that one of the thugs he treats as a nobody is actually a somebody also. Specifically, the thug is the younger brother of Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov), a Russian crime lord that reacts as all crime lords would react when he finds out his younger brother is in hospital with a busted wind pipe, he sends an army to deal with Hutch and his family.

Derek Kolstad, writer of the John Wick series, also wrote Nobody and he has a knack for building suspense and unleashing mayhem. Odenkirk is perfectly cast as Hutch, and the disconnections (at the beginning) and connections (after the bus fight) with his family bring much needed depth to his plight. The scene where Hutch ushers his family down into the basement and the kiss he gives Becca is poignant and yearning. You’ll care about Hutch like you did with John McClane in Die Hard.

The final showdown at the factory has Hutch going MacGyver with an assortment of inventive traps to obliterate Yulian’s henchmen. It’s all a bit silly but by this point, you’re satisfied because of what has happened before.

One of the better action thrillers I’ve seen this year.

8 out of 10

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