Director: Jaco Van Dormael
Stars: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, and Diane Kruger
Fascinating. The only word I can really muster to describe this movie is fascinating. Mr. Nobody is a tale about the last mortal human on Earth in a time where medical engineering and good ol’ evolution has hit its full potential – thus having everybody born after a certain time immortal. Mr. Nobody, however, is 118 years old, and doesn’t exist in this time, and although it doesn’t show it, nor does it explain it any sort of depth other than a slight passing, he sticks out because he’s the only person aging. And what do humans do to people who stand out? Make a reality TV show of course.
Now, the old man is the central figure; the narrator in a sense, and although he plays a large role in the film, he doesn’t have the most screen time, or the best character development (even though the entire movie is about him at different times in his life.); the main story takes place as Nemo Nobody grows up, which is told in a series of flashbacks and pieced together memories – which makes things interesting as the old man is somewhat losing his mind, thus making some of the stories a little bit strange or far fetched.
It is the stories that really make this a confusing film. I’ve watched a lot of movies, some simple and some overly complex. I have never watched a movie (that was well done – not a poorly written and directed film) that has completely stumped me in the end. As I sat back and watched Mr. Nobody, I was confused, as I’m sure I (as the viewer) was meant to be. The story progressed and they reveal the old man telling his story, which clears things up… momentarily anyway. There are three alternate dimensions, or so it seems, that Mr. Nobody is recalling, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I watched regardless, and I assumed at the penultimate moment, everything would be revealed and all would be well. I was wrong, the final few moments reveal more confusion. Of course, throughout the show I pieced together my own theories, and one I thought made a lot of sense, and it could still very well be the proper hypothesis as the true nature is never obviously revealed.
With a fairly in depth background of the movie explained, how is it done? Is it a well shot and acted film? Well, I must say yes. Jared Leto thrives in these sort of inane roles (Requiem for a Dream), he convinced me he was who he was in every alternate life that he played in, also he portrayal of the old man was phenomenal, except for maybe his voice – but that’s just nitpicking. Sarah Polley has a fairly small role in the film, but she plays the mental break downs effectively, and it always appears that she’s distressed in someway or another. Lastly, Diane Kruger’s performance was fantastic. She had a sort of strange on screen elegance that I can’t really describe. Perhaps it was her character or the writing, but I felt captivated by her performance in ever scene.
With all the positives I’ve mentioned here, you’d begin to think it’s the greatest movie of all time – that is just not the case. Although the potential was there, it didn’t do one key thing that a movie needs. Yes, the film was fascinating, but it simply wasn’t all that entertaining. Everything was well done, but it moved along at a slower pace, it was pieced together sort of abruptly (as was its intention), but the overall product wasn’t overly enjoyable. Am I saying now, in one small paragraph that it’s a bad movie? Absolutely not. What I’m saying is, it’s probably not for everybody. If you enjoy shorter films that focus on all action, or all comedy, or all drama with an easy to follow story and plot, Mr. Nobody isn’t going to win you over.
This is the type of movie that you almost have to watch twice, you’ll leave it feeling that nothing made sense, but it should have for it’s such a great idea and it’s so well done; you’ll feel that you’ve missed something – something so small near the beginning that would explain everything and you’ll finally have that eureka moment and figure everything out. I cannot vouch for that personally as I’ve only seen the movie once. But I’m fairly certain there’s something I missed on the first go.
When it’s all said and done, if you like the psychological type of movies; something along the lines of Requiem for a Dream, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Pi, then I feel you’ll love this movie, but if not, well this won’t be the one to change your mind either.
Overall 4 outta 5