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Peter Malone MSC  |  06 April 2021

NOBODY US, 2021. Violent action thriller. Starring Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, Aleksey Serebryakov, Michael Ironside, Colin Salmon, RZA. Directed by Ilya Nailshuller. Rated MS (Strong action violence)

It doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that the writer for this violent, action show is Derek Kolstad, the writer for all the John Wick actioners. The central character, moving towards the end of middle age, is called Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk), best known for television series Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, a long-time screen writer with a talent for comedy.

Thinking about John Wick and his violent career, hitman and high body count, one might conclude that this is a version of John Wick Sr, the hitman getting an opportunity for a career change, drop the violence completely (well, not exactly completely) and his becoming a husband and father with a regular work routine. In fact, the film begins well with a quick outline and visuals of each day of Hutch’s week, including missing out on getting the garbage bin out on time for the collector (and wondering why he doesn’t put it out the night before as most of us do), the signalling of the days of the weeks getting faster and faster.

Hutch’s life is routine, but becoming more than a touch frigid in his relationship with his wife, Becca (Nielsen) a professional woman. His teenage son doesn’t seem to think all that much of him. But he is devoted to his little daughter.

And then, two masked burglars turn up, the son tackling one of them, Hutch restraining himself from smashing a golf club on the female burglar’s head. The son is not impressed.

In the meantime, Hutch has some ambitions to take over his wife’s father’s family business where he works. And he goes to visit his ex-FBI agent father in a home for the elderly, played with enormous vigour, as we see by the end, by Christopher Lloyd; relishing his role.

Determining to assert himself more strongly, especially for his son’s admiration, Hutch tracks down the burglars only to find they had some reasonable cause for the burglary. But, it is on the way home, on a bus, that he encounters a group of reckless young men who have crashed their car, get on the bus, menace the few passengers – and then provoke Hutch. His repressed inner rage breaks out, helped by his military training in the past. He is on the receiving end of hits and punches himself, but, in bone-crunching way, he wins the night.

We might expect consequences and there are, tangling with the Russian Mafia, a most obnoxious villain who dresses showily, snorts cocaine, sings on stage in his nightclub, supervises millions of dollars of illegal cash – and has henchman galore at his beckoning.

If this sounds interesting and provocative, then Nobody is your show. There’s action, ingenuity with weapons, huge shootouts. Much of this is done in a tongue-in-cheek, hyperbolic way, to say the least. And, continually in the background is a range of popular songs, lyrics apt for the action, including Louis Armstrong and ‘What a Wonderful World’ as his house burns to the ground, ‘To Dream the Impossible Dream’ at the height of the shooting, and ‘I’ll Never Walk Alone’ from Carousel during the climax. Actually, there is a happy ending, of course, with ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ over the final credits!

Hutch proves that he is not exactly a Nobody even if that is the name in his highly secret government file.

Released 1 April 2021
Peter Malone MSC is an associate Jesuit Media.


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