Mr Nobody is an arthouse sci-fi romance film that quietly had its cinematic release at the end of last year. How quiet you ask? Well, its a $50 million dollar film that stars Jared Leto (Fight Club) and Diane Kruger (Troy) and yet it doesn’t have a page on the typically comprehensive Box Office Mojo website to tell you how it performed at the box office and you can’t check on Rotten Tomatoes to see whether the critics liked the film or not because there aren’t enough reviews. I only found out about the film myself based on some positive word of mouth from the Something Awful messageboard.
So how is it?
The film begins rather erratically, with protagonist Nemo Nobody waking up from several layers of dreamstates as he hurtles through different timespans and alternate dimensions. This goes on for some time. Finally, after about fifteen minutes of impressive visual effects but a progressive sense of weariness the film finds some focus.
The year is 2092 and Nemo Nobody is the last remaining mortal on Earth at 118 years of age. Everyone else is kept alive through advanced stem cell research that allows for perfect cell regeneration. Nemo is interviewed by a curious looking tattooed physician before being given a hospital ward to rest in. It is during the conversation with the physician that we find out that Nemo is unsure of how he came to be in the year 2092 and he has no recollection of the past 84 years. He remembers himself at the age of 34.
He is intruded upon in his hospital ward by a journalist, keen to find out Nemo’s life story before he expires on his deathbed. Nemo opens up to this man about life and begins to tell a tale. Or rather, three of them. At a young age, Nemo is besotted with three girls: Anna, Elise and Jean. He tells of how he came to be with all three. Each existence splits into a different timeline, although they also occasionally intertwine. This is about as complicated as it sounds. All three timelines are told from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. So in essense, you’re getting about nine different stages of Nemo’s lovelife. This is also interwoven with interjections from the journalist interviewing the 118 year old Nemo. This is a film that must have had a hell of a storyboard in the planning stages.
For its 138 minute running time, Mr Nobody is continously stunning to look at. Each scene appears to have been carefully crafted to resemble a work of art and there are some clever uses of camera angles and visual effects throughout. Whats surprising is how this seems to be at odds with the writing in the script itself, which has a ponderous pace that tried my patience. I also found that I was getting more and more emotionally drained by the sheer amount of drama and negativity in Nemo’s multi-facted romances. One constant that we can rely on is that Nemo is terrible in his relationships and he can seemingly never walk away from them regardless of whether his wife has feelings for someone else, he is bored of his wife or they have a chaotic relationship that isn’t working.
What it boils down to is this: Mr Nobody is a film I enjoyed almost entirely for is visual flair and ultimately I cared very little for Nemo’s cack-handed attempts at fixing his marital problems. The film does a reasonable job crafting such a complicated story but in the end, what does it amount to? I didn’t really walk away from Mr Nobody with any clear idea of what it was that the director wanted to convey. A few months ago, I wrote an article on this site about great looking, yet otherwise average films. This review of Mr Nobody is basically the latest instalment.