Monday, 16 September 2013

Review: Mr Nobody

World of Blackout Catch-up Review

Mr Nobody Poster

Mr Nobody
Cert: 15 / 153 mins / Dir. Jaco Van Dormael

Have you ever heard somebody recommend a film, full of actors that you know and themes that you love, yet you've somehow never heard of it before then? For me, that's Mr Nobody. Of course, after watching it, I realise why this didn't play at my local. It's two and a half hours of exploratory rumination on cause, effect, choice, memory and identity. Deliberately vague with its questions and evasive with its replies, I loved every last minute.

The film is a sprawling examination of chaos theory. As things go on, the threads which make up the many lives of Mr Nobody get more tangled, and the narrative switches between and across them until you're not sure which story you're meant to be following. Which, I think*1, is the point of the film; there is no one path. This, ladies and gentlemen, is 'a concentrator'. You're required to pay attention for the full two and a half hours. Don't tit about with your phone, and don't assume you can take a break in the middle and pick up where you left off. If I'm making it sound like hard work it really isn't, but the film doesn't spoon-feed you like many in its genre might.

Beautifully shot, scored*2 and acted (with extra props to Thomas Byrne and Jared Leto as the youngest and oldest iterations of Nemo Nobody, respectively), it's a hazy, hypnotising joy to watch. There aren't many films which can make you think about Everything and do it without intellectual snobbery, but this is one of them. After watching the Mr Nobody*3, you might want to absorb the Wiki page. And then watch it again.

Just… enjoy it for the art is is, and don't expect all the answers.

"I'm not afraid of dying. I'm afraid I haven't been alive enough."

Is the trailer representative of the film?
The trailer is the merest hint of what's contained in the film.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
When I get round to understanding all of it, I'll let you know.

Buy, pay to rent, or wait until it's on for free?
Buy. You're going to want to watch it more than once..

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
So if it's tails, we get drunk yeah?

*1 Opinion, obviously. It's a beautifully open-ended film.
*2 And the use of the same version of Mister Sandman as in Back To The Future was a welcome addition, too :)
*3Not much point in reading it before. Not because of spoilers, it just won't make a lot of sense. Watch the trailer as prep.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a 'catch-up' review. I watched this film at home, not at the cinema. I saw the trailer for this at the cinema, and I would have seen the film there too, but they didn't/couldn't show it. So now iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster get to reap the rewards of my local's advance-advertising, and I'm sure they're delighted. Now you may say "oh come on, they can't show everything down there", and that would be a valid point if they didn't do things like running Taken 2 for six weeks. Was it that successful? No, I don't think so. Twilight? Batman? Les Mes? Sure, go for it; if they're pulling the punters in then keep making that money. But Taken 2? I ask you. Anyway, this is essentially a DVD review, but still of a new(ish) film. There. I'm glad that's sorted.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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