Nobody review – bone-crunchingly enjoyable geri-action from Bob Odenkirk

The Better Call Saul star doesn’t disgrace himself amid some entertainingly gonzo mayhem

Geriatric action stars, like geriatric millennials, might be having a bit of a moment. Bob Odenkirk, better known as slippery lawyer Saul Goodman in TV’s Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul, unexpectedly gets to bust out some serious fight moves at the age of 58. That’s two years older than Liam Neeson was when he made Taken, and eight years older than Keanu Reeves at the time of the first John Wick film, though Reeves admittedly already had the action chops.

Nobody, from screenwriter Derek Kolstad (creator of John Wick) and the Russian action director Ilya Naishuller, gives us Odenkirk as a nobody: a boring guy called Hutch with two kids, who works at some dull machine tools plant, while his more glamorous wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) brings home more bacon as an estate agent. When a couple of armed punks break into his house one night, Hutch is humiliated by his failure to protect his family.

But like Kenny Rogers’ Coward of the County, Hutch has a surprise in store for us. Something inside him snaps when he realises that the robbers took his daughter’s kitty bracelet, and it seems that there is something in his professional past that has not been made plain to us. Hutch goes on an undisciplined emotional rampage, and winds up fortuitously beating the living jeepers out of half a dozen Russian gangsters on a bus: an entertainingly gonzo sequence. But a serious Russian mobster wants revenge on Hutch and this is the granite-faced Yulian, played by Aleksey Serebryakov (whom devotees of a higher-brow sort of film might remember as the desolate car mechanic in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan.)

It has to be said that Nobody rattles enjoyably and bone-crunchingly along and as for Odenkirk, this career turn more or less pays off. He never tries to be macho exactly, and spends a lot of his time flinching and scowling at all the cuts and bruises on his face. But his fisticuffs and over-the-top weapons mayhem look plausible enough. As far as action stardom goes, Odenkirk might yet be somebody.

• Nobody is released on 9 June in cinemas.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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