Nobody (2021)

What do you get when you add up “John Wick,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight” and “Death Wish” (but substract the latter’s racism and misogyny)? Probably something that would be a goddamn mess, and that’s probably why “Nobody” works as well as it does. The aforementioned movies provide a bit of a blueprint for the plot in this ridiculously entertaining, hyper-violent vigilante-but-not-really tale, but director Ilya Naishuller manages to use those as inspiration (and perhaps a bit of a nudge towards its core audience) for his own movie’s plot, instead of letting the nods and nostalgia do the heavy lifting for him. Bob Odenkirk is ludicrously effective in the title role, bringing his slightly-dickish-but-still-likable energy with him to this role and turning it inside out, going from ramming someone’s head into a wall to being a legitimately great dad to his two children without missing a beat; perhaps more importantly, Odenkirk manages to get the audience on his side without ever breaking the fourth wall or taking the viewer out of the narrative, but instead by leaning on his built-in persona and switching things up (plus he looks really, really good in sweatpants… just sayin’). All of this is complimented by the other performers around, who are all completely believable in their roles, especially his family unit: Connie Nielsen, Gage Munroe and Paisley Cadorath share a dynamized chemistry that registers as sincere, which adds a great deal of emotional verisimilitude to the movie’s plot without drawing attention to itself. And finally, there’s the wonderful Aleksey Serebryakov, who brings the same irresistible, campy mania to his flamboyant villain role as Ewan McGregor tried to do to middling results in the otherwise-excellent “Birds of Prey,” with Serebryakov stealing scenes left and right (a late-movie interaction between he and Odenkirk, discussing whether or not Serebryakov should try to hunt Odenkirk, is probably the movie’s funniest, most vibrant moment). So strap in, because this is a 90-minute action movie that gets going early on, never lets up, and leaves you smiling ear to ear.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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