© Universal Pictures International Germany GmbH

U.S.A./Japan 2021

Opening 1 Jul 2021

Directed by: Ilya Naishuller
Writing credits: Derek Kolstad
Principal actors: Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside

Nobody’s satiric, tongue-in-cheek splattered brutality that goads audiences to laugh outright is offset by fierce wit, stellar performances, and exceptional production values. At its core is Bob Odenkirk, known far and wide as the hapless attorney on American TV series, Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013), and Better Call Saul (2015 – a sixth/final season to premiere in 2022). After this action-thriller, Bob doubtlessly will never be thought of as “hapless” again.

Magnified in the opening sequence is Hatch Mansell (Odenkirk) and Becca’s (Connie Nielsen) fast-paced, monotonously hectic schedule: both work, are parenting adolescent Blake (Gage Munroe) and younger Sammy (Paisley Cadorath), enjoy a large suburban home, and two cars. Both are exhausted. Working for Eddie (Michael Ironside), Becca’s dad, at his machine shop, Bob picks up the slack at home. The tedium is broken during a nighttime burglary, when Blake, not dad, challenges one of the two hooded figures (Humberly González, Edsson Morales). Word travels fast humiliating Hatch at every turn, starting at work with macho brother-in-law Charlie (Billy MacLellan); nonetheless, he stoically endures. Until, Sammy misses her kitty-cat bracelet and asks dad for help finding it. Hatch has had enough.

(Hold on from this point forward, paying attention to the hints and details given, including particularly the lyrics of obviously painstakingly chosen songs to match onscreen action/moods.) Hatch’s facade slips by degrees, exposing impressive lethal skills wound tightly under his control, governed by moral fortitude. Standing-up to drunk ruffians on a bus—the sequence, shot over three-days, is faultlessly orchestrated action-choreography—puts him in psychopathic Yulian's (a captivating Aleksey Serebryakov) cross-hairs; the Russian crime lord will extract revenge for younger brother Teddy (Aleksandr Pal).

From the get-go, Hatch is clearly not the usual suburbanite. So, thanks to word traveling fast, Hatch’s family, brother Harry (RZA)—hidden, and dad David (Christopher Lloyd)—retired, join in. Harry sends Hatch to “the Barber” (Colin Salmon), while David’s ruse is clever concealment. At-risk yet invigorated, the former “auditor” attempts to come clean with opponents, if they would only hang on. From quarry to predator, victim to victorious, when pressed Hatch will only admit, “I’m nobody.”

Director Ilya Naishuller (Hardcore Henry), in tandem with Derek Kolstad’s (John Wick) screenplay, has fashioned a smart, smooth kick-ass, attention-holding, action-packed too-short screen gem. The idea was Odenkirk’s, based on his personal home invasion, and, Bob trained two years for the role rather than use a double. Editors Evan Schiff and William Yeh neatly fasten Pawel Pogorzelski’s commendable configurative cinematography, and David Buckley’s music into the crisp, adroit film. Nobody gives viewers a pinch of John Wick with the black humor of Fargo, and is such fun entertainment it screams for a sequel that is, perhaps, hinted at in the sequence stuck smack-dab in the middle of end credits. (Marinell Haegelin)

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