This sure ain’t Saul.
In Nobody, Bob Odenkirk, best known from Breaking Bad and as the star of its spin-off, Better Call Saul, transforms from his typical quirky typecasting into an ass-kicking action hero in a sharply edited thriller that manages to squeeze in some unlikely laughs.
It’s about as wholesome as a movie in which the protagonist dumps boiling water down a hitman’s face can be, and makes for a bloody fun—albeit, slightly hollow—hour-and-a-half ride.
Nobody is Russian music video savant Ilya Viktorovich Naishuller’s second major directorial venture. It’s written by Derek Kolstad who helped create the John Wick franchise, which means there’s obviously a Russian mob villain, but what you might not expect is that this baddie also loves singing karaoke in neon-drenched clubs.
Our hero is Hutch, played by Odenkirk, a middle-aged suburban dad whose biggest gripe is barely missing the garbage truck every Tuesday. One night, two inexperienced burglars break into Hutch’s home and, dissatisfied with his spare change (he uses a debit card!), steal his watch. Hutch’s son is able to tackle one of the burglars to the ground, giving Hutch a perfect opportunity to step in and beat the other burglar with a golf club.
Instead, he abstains, prompting emasculating shaming from his son, the cop that responds to his break-in, and even a random guy at work.
Something becomes unhinged in Hutch, and his cold dead glare hints at a violent past. As the film progresses, we learn Hutch isn’t what he seems and has been bottling up a secret—he’s a highly trained killer craving an excuse to explode. And he’s no reluctant warrior, either—an artistic flair in his ruthlessness reveals that Hutch loves the violence. He misses it.
Suddenly, Hutch goes from bumbling with the morning coffee pot to punching the teeth out of menacing drunks on a public bus for kicks, drawing the ire from the aforementioned Russian mob boss. It only gets wilder from there.
I don’t usually go for the gore, but thanks to smart editing and a dash of humor, the copious amounts of fake blood and bruises didn’t phase me. Naisshuller deserves credit for elevating this from what could have been a generic bloodfest to a more nuanced and creative noir.
While its fiery finale is sure to dazzle—get ready for a sharp-shooting 82-year-old Christopher Lloyd—I couldn’t help but want a little more out of old Hutch by the end.
A lean runtime spares the punches from getting old, but surely, something other than bloodlust must be churning through dear Hutch’s veins? Still, kudos to Odenkirk for going full beast mode. He’s nobody you want to mess with.
Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.