Bob Odenkirk sets aside the shabby suits and slick patter of his infamous TV alter-ego Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in the immaculate Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul TV series to take up the mantle of an entirely different outsider figure. The action hero is probably the role he was surely never born to play but he takes to the bone-crunching fisticuffs and blazing gunfights like man created to raise carnage and the result is a film as ridiculously entertaining and it’s ridiculous.
Directed by Ilya Naishuller and written by Derek Kolstad (creator of the John Wick franchise - which probably gives you an idea what to expect here) Nobody sees Odenkirk playing Hutch Mansell, an ordinary middle-aged man living an unremarkable life as an office worker at his father-in-law’s metal fabrication company. His life is cripplingly mundane. His family barely acknowledge him much less express any love or respect for him. Day after day we see him going through the motions of a life bereft of purpose, meaning or joy. But one fateful night an armed man and woman break into the family home and Hutch does nothing to repel them or even to defend his home and family even when his teenage son Blake intervenes. Hutch’s self-esteem plunges even further and the distance between himself and his family seems to increase to a chasm. It takes only the realisation that his young daughter’s kitty cat bracelet is missing, presumably taken by the burglars, to push Hutch over the edge and to reawaken a secret persona he has fought so hard to hideaway. An encounter with ruthless thugs on a bus ride home leads him into a spiral of violence and destruction that will put his entire family at risk as Hutch’s past finally catches up with him.
Nobody is a sleek ninety-two minutes of mad, bad adrenalized kick-ass action. It’s a revelation watching mild-manner, timid Hutch explode into a ball of slick violence – especially considering that he’s played by Bob Odenkirk whose Saul Goodman rarely works up a sweat on TV as he wheels and deals and twists and turns his way through the legal system. We’ll likely not see a more explosive fight sequence this year than his battle with the thugs on his homeward journey, a scene so well-realised it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the complete cliché of the whole situation which we have seen a hundred times or more before. Odenkirk clearly has a ball here playing against type. Having attracted the ire of a Russian gangster Hutch’s position appears to become increasingly untenable as his home comes under attack again (with extraordinary consequences) and he finally faces off against what appears to be an unstoppable army of gun-blazing disposable mobsters.
Nobody is far more fun than it ought to be thanks not only to Odenkirk whose Hutch is entirely unruffled throughout, giving the impression that everything’s completely under control even as increasing amounts of excrement hit the fan but also the gloriously sly presence of the legendary Christopher Lloyd as Hutch’s feisty ageing father and rapper RZA as Harry, Hutch’s half-brother. Utterly preposterous verging on the ludicrous, Nobody explodes off the screen like a big box of firecrackers and it will demand you set aside your critical faculties and just revel in the madness and the utter chaos unfolding before your very eyes. File this one alongside last year’s Unhinged as a guilty pleasure you really shouldn’t feel guilty about for one second.