Thursday, August 05, 2010

Mr. Nobody Is Always Remembering Somebody

Mr. Nobody

For all those who thought Inception was the biggest mind trip of the summer let me introduce you to Mr. Nobody. Easily one of the most mind-bending films you will see all year, Mr. Nobody takes the whole concept of existence, thoughts, dreams, true love, etc. to a whole new level. In many was Inception, is a nice warm up to Mr. Nobody as some of the ideas in that film are prevalent in here as well.

Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) wakes up one morning to discover that he is not the same 34 year-old man he was when he went to sleep. The year is now 2092 and, at age 117, Nemo is the oldest living mortal in a futuristic world where nobody can die. As the world watches Nemo Nobody’s last days play out on television, Nemo spends his final hours reflecting on the key moments of his life. One of those life altering events surrounds the separation of his parents (Rhys Ifans and Natasha Little). Whichever parent Nemo chooses to live with will have major impact on his future relationships with three distinct women. There is Anna (Diane Kruger) who may, or may not, be his true soul mate; Elise (Sarah Polley) who is haunted by a lost love; and Jean (Linh Dan Pham) the one whose love Nemo may not fully reciprocate. Each choice in Nemo’s life comes with its own pros and cons; so in order to dictate his future Nemo will need to learn how to change the past.

Written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael, Mr. Nobody is a film where the lines between reality and fiction are often blurred. Is Nemo telling us the whole truth? Can he remember what the truth is anymore? Does truth even exist in a world that is changeable? These are just a few of the numerous questions that will cross your mind when viewing the film. If you are hoping that Dormael’s complex script will provide answers then you will be disappointed. Jaco Van Dormael is only interested in planting the questions in your mind and providing you with the tools to formulate your own answers. The script incorporates references to almost every school of thought known to man. This includes such things as string theory, the butterfly effect, the Big Crunch, entropy, etc. Needless to say Mr. Nobody is a film that begs for repeat viewing in order to grasp all the various philosophical and scientific thoughts that are in play.

Mr. Nobody is far from a linear tale. It bounces back and forth between time and in and out of alternate realities. Yet despite all of the craziness the film still remains quite captivating. At its heart, Mr. Nobody is essentially about love and the random moments in life that might not be so random. A lot of credit must go to the cast who help maintain a certain level of calm amongst all of the eccentricities that surround the film.

Jared Leto does a wonderful job as both the 34 and 117 year-old versions of Nemo Nobody. Frankly I cannot remember the last time Leto showed off his range as an actor this well. I would also like to highlight the exceptional work of both Toby Regbo and Juno Temple. They practically steal the film while playing 16 year-old Nemo and 15 year-old Anna respectively. So much of the film relies on the audience believing in Nemo and Anna’s relationship at this age; and neither actor disappoints.

If there is one complaint to make about Mr. Nobody it is that Jaco Van Dormael spends too much time on the teenage years of Nemo’s life. The pacing of the film really slows down in the middle as Dormael seems to hit the same note, regarding Nemo and Anna’s teenage romance, repeatedly. Dormael clearly establishes that both characters really love each other at that age, so it is perplexing why he would keeping going over this point when there is so much else going on in the film? Still, despite the slow middle section, Mr. Nobody is one of the films that will stick with you long after it is done. The film is challenging, confusing, witty, mesmerizing and definitely original. Mr. Nobody is one of the better, if not most maddening, films you will see this year.


  1. This sounds fascinating, I haven't seen inception and I'm guessing this won't be remembered while the Nolan movie continues to cure cancer and end wars...
    I hate how fake the industry is when it comes to small movies and big budget crap.

    1. Anonymous9:56 pm

      The small movie had a reported budget of 47million dollars but perhaps more significantly it was produced mainly out of France...

      I think this review is spot on and advise anyone who doesn't demand to be served their story on a plate, to go and watch it.

      But let's not take anything away from Inception despite it being just clever enough to never really lose an audience member.

  2. Awesome! I have been looking forward to this movie all year but it doesn't seem to have found a distributor in the US. Hopefully, we will get to see it by the end of the year...

  3. @jose - I think you should see both Mr. Nobody and Inception. They are each good in their own way. Mr. Nobody is not the type of film studios will make a lot of money off hence why it will get buried amongst all the other summer fair.

    @Castor - The film was released here with no marketing at all. Worst of all it came out the same day as Inception. I have a feeling it will quickly be sent to DVD in a few months. That is where it will make most of its money.


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