When it comes to revenge flicks, Nobody does it better than you might be expecting.

The latest in a seemingly endless conveyer belt of middle-aged dudes deciding they’ve had enough of life’s indignities and responding in spectacularly violent fashion, NOBODY blasts its way into the genre with a bloodied grin and a swollen black eye that nevertheless can still manage a knowing wink. It’s an ultraviolent romp that manages to nimbly sidestep the potential pitfalls of glorifying vigilante justice to deliver instead a rousing tale of suburban dad turned badass with plenty of flair and surprisingly nuanced commentary thanks in large part to Bob Odenkirk.

Best known for his portrayal of the shifty lawyer Saul Goodman in BREAKING BAD and BETTER CALL SAUL, Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, an underestimated and overlooked dad and husband, whose refusal to defend himself during a burglary triggers a mid-life crisis with extreme prejudice. It’s easy to see the tropey setup: the unhappy, emasculated white man finds redemption through unleashing his pent-up rage, but that’s where NOBODY sidesteps the potential social commentary landmines.

Post-Kyle Rittenhouse and his Gravy SEAL ilk, the landscape for a revenge-fantasy flick where a white guy finds self-actualisation through grievance-driven ultra-violence is rife with risks but NOBODY cunningly pitches its tent in the camp of self-aware pseudo-parody and escapism rather than a rallying cry for vigilante justice. The movie taps into the universal fantasy of fighting back against life’s injustices while smartly avoiding any real-world political quagmires although in doing so it does cast a little shade at America’s apparently unshakeable conviction that the best way to stop the bad guys with guns is a good guy who’s better with guns.

Hutch’s transformation isn’t about sparking a revolution, taking a stand on partisan political issues or responding to the rage-baiting clarion call of a red-hatted grifter (the bad guys are as cinemartically generic as possible); it’s about personal catharsis and the cinematic joy of watching an apparent underdog hit back—hard.

Odenkirk’s performance is a revelation. He brings a clumsy authenticity to the initial stages of Hutch’s transformation that’s both hilarious and heartening. As his old skills resurface, so does Odenkirk’s knack for blending physical comedy with action—a less suave, more bruisable John Wick, if you will. The everyday nature of his character—dealing with the trash, missing the garbage truck, failing to defend his home—makes his metamorphosis into a killing machine – albeit a reluctant one – all the more satisfying and entertaining.

And let’s not overlook the delightful surprise that is Christopher Lloyd as Hutch’s father. The erstwhile Doc Brown of “Back to the Future” fame steals every scene he’s in with a shotgun in hand and a twinkle in his eye. His presence in the film is like finding an extra fry at the bottom of your fast-food bag—unexpected and utterly delicious. Lloyd brings a zany energy to the proceedings, enhancing the film’s embrace of its more ludicrous elements.

Director Ilya Naishuller, known for the first-person action film HARDCORE HENRY, orchestrates the chaos with a gleeful eye. The action sequences are crisp and invigorating, peppered with enough inventive brutality to satisfy action aficionados while still maintaining a rhythm that allows for character moments and humor. The soundtrack, an eclectic mix that cleverly juxtaposes violence with vintage tunes, gives NOBODY a stylistic edge that compliments its narrative twists.

What makes NOBODY particularly engaging, beyond the ballet of bullets and beatdowns, is its ability to playfully mock its genre without stumbling into overt parody. It’s aware of its absurdity and leans into it without crossing into the realm of the truly ridiculous. The film manages to balance its thrilling escapism with a wink to the audience, acknowledging its over-the-top antics without undermining the stakes, thanks in large part to Odenkirk’s laid-back likeability.

So, if you’re in the mood for a film that combines the charm of an everyday Joe with the spectacle of stylised cinematic violence — all while sidestepping socio-political landmines with the grace of a seasoned boxer —then NOBODY can give you what you need.

Nobody Review
Score 8/10
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