Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Belgium | Germany | Canada | France 2009
Directed by
Jaco Van Dormael
157 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars

Mr Nobody (Director's Cut)

Jaco Van Dormael's film, his third feature in twenty years is an extraordinary work, brilliantly conceived and superbly realized (it was also Jared Leto's final role before he took a four year sabbatical from acting to concentrate on his band, 30 Seconds From Mars)

Leto plays Nemo Nobody who, when we meet him in 2092, is a one hundred and eighteen-year-old man who is the sole surviving mortal in a world where everyone lives as long as they like. The authorities think he's finally about to die but have arranged a public vote on whether he should live longer. As he lies in hospital he is visited by a journalist (Daniel Mays) to whom Nemo relates his life story.

Mr Nobody is like Little Big Man turned into a head trip.  Whereas Penn’s film gave us a straightforward chronological narrative, Van Dormael takes us on a sprawling achronological imaginary journey that defies simple description. There are some broadly identifiable structural elements, notably Nemo’s relationship with three females, Anna, Jane and Elise at three different stages of his life, childhood, teen years and adulthood and there slowly emerges some kind of unifying concept, roughly speaking revolving around ideas of free will and determinism but this suggests a comprehensibility that isn’t so readily apparent.  What logic and meaning there is to the narrative (which includes a trip to Mars and simultaneous co-existence of opposites, such as Nemo’s wife, Elise (Sarah Polley) both dying and not dying) is that of a dream or drug-induced reverie, that is, purely subjective.

In the final analysis, however one reads it (or fails to), Mr Nobody impresses for its extraordinary inventiveness and outstanding execution, the calibre of which is rarely encountered (the film, which, remarkably, disappeared without a trace, had a budget of $47 million). Whilst some may pall at the eclecticism, the only reservation I had was in the choice of accompanying pop songs (the soundtrack was by Pierre van Dormael) which at times feels like Dennis Potter gone cute, a mis-step in what is otherwise a remarkably assured film.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst