Nobody is a 2021 action thriller starring Bob Odenkirk (of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fame). Plot wise it is one that seems done over and over again in Hollywood movies – an unwilling man with a dark past, forced to go to war against evil men who threaten him and his family. Shades of Keanu Reeves’s John Wick trilogy come into play here. Nobody is directed by Ilya Naishuller and amidst the chaos which the film industry is in during the Covid pandemic, one of the top-performing movies at the box office even giving Godzilla v. Kong a run for its money especially considering the disparity in terms of budgets between the two.
Bob Odenkirk stars as Hutch Mansell, a simple man living an idyllic family life, working in his father-in-law’s metal fabrication factory, which he hopes to buy and a repetitive schedule involving missing out on the garbage drop, taking the bus to work and exercising in front of his wife’s realtor business billboard. His life is slowly grinding on him, as he and his wife have not been intimate in years, and his son Blake has no respect for him, regarding him as a pushover.
A robbery at his home which results in him being pushed over the edge even further and realizing the burglars stole his daughter’s bracelet along with some of the cash, he goes after them. However, after finding the burglars, a husband and wife who robbed his house only to pay for their sick daughter’s treatment, Hutch leaves in shame but his pent up frustration comes to boil, when during the late-night bus ride back home, he is confronted by some Russian thugs who were harassing a young passenger who is all alone. The ensuing brawl results in him brutally beating up the Russian thugs leaving one of them with a broken windpipe.
After telling his half-brother Harry about the incident, Harry then sends him to see a man referred to only as “The Barber”, who provides Hutch with information about one of his victims: he is the younger brother of Yulian Kuznetsov, a notorious Russian mob enforcer. Although Yulian despises his brother, he feels an obligation to avenge him and sends a crew led by his right-hand man Pavel to attack Hutch at home. Hutch hides his family and kills most of the attackers before Pavel subdues him with a taser and puts him in the trunk of a car to take him to Yulian. Finding a fire extinguisher in the trunk, Hutch uses it to blindside his abductors, causing the car to crash, killing Pavel. He returns home, sends his wife Becca and the children away to a safe location, and sets his house on fire to destroy any evidence.
Hutch’s past is revealed now – he was an “auditor” for a secret intelligence agencies which sent him to “clean up” situations involving people who were too hard to arrest or considered untouchable. During one of his assassinations, his victim pleaded to him to let him go and he would go back to leading a simple life. Hutch lets him go and after a year goes to check on him and finds him leading a simple life in a small town, with a wife and two kids and happy. This leads Hutch to also hang up his boots and settle down to a simple life although he now admits that he ended up “over-correcting”, resulting in losing the respect of the people around him.
After giving his father-in-law Eddie a stash of gold bars to buy his company from him, Hutch burns Yulian’s art collection and the Obshak money he was protecting for the mob, telling him that he can either choose to come after him or he can take what he has left and flee. Yulian angrily calls up every thug on his payroll and pursues Hutch to the factory, where his father David, an ex-FBI agent and his half-brother Harry show up to help Hutch eliminate the gangsters using a variety of weapons and deadly traps Hutch had set up. In the ensuing shootout, the three kill all of the gunmen with the exception of Yulian, who shoots and wounds Harry; Hutch charges him with a Claymore mine attached to a bulletproof shield and detonates it, killing Yulian. He lets his father and brother escape, and is arrested by the police, only to be quickly released with no charges filed after both the detectives receive calls from unknown sources. Three months later, while buying a new house with Becca, Hutch receives a call suggesting that his services are still required and thus, setting up a platform for sequels.
In terms of pure action and adrenaline boosting fights, Nobody fulfills its goals of entertaining us. Bob Odenkirk is extremely convincing both as a simple family man and as a brutal assassin. This movie works only because of him the same way John Wick works because of Keanu Reeves. The fights, especially the one in the bus, are brutal and bloody and not for the squeamish. This movie is a viscerally violent action thriller which smashes, shatters, and destroys plenty of other things – all the while proving Bob Odenkirk has what it takes to be an action star. There is talk of a crossover between Nobody and John Wick in the future and I for one, look forward to watching that.
Watch Nobody today – for Bob Odenkirk’s excellent performance and to enjoy a viscerally thrilling, guns and fists action thriller.