WHAT AM I WATCHING!?: Mr. Nobody is the sort of existential film that you’ll either enjoy or feel like you’re supposed to enjoy which may ultimately piss you off. If you’re not a big fan of introspective science fiction that doesn’t explain the artistic nonsense happening throughout, then find something less tiresome on Netflix at 3 in the morning. Mr. Nobody is a film based more on philosophy and certainly doesn’t take for granted the way it strings along the audience on nonlinear paths.
THE GOOD: Every life that he has from that point onward varies. Nemo seems to be stuck understanding all of the timelines and each possibility, while weighing carefully which to keep like a semi omnipotent time traveler. The film effortlessly switches between these decisions, leaving audience members hopefully fascinated with understanding instead of frustrated by indiscretion. This is not a film that is going to explain itself to you. So if that sounds like a hindrance I wouldn’t bother watching. Reading into the fine print and analyzing are key features of the film. At times it can seem a bit overly dramatic, but ultimately has the potential to be very moving.
THE BAD: At times Nemo can come across as a blank but beautiful face, and since he exists in hundreds of timelines it’s difficult to pinpoint specific traits to his personality. Honestly, Jared Leto is entirely too beautiful. It’s distracting. I’m not saying that’s a legitimate criticism at all. So feel free to ignore that remark if it doesn’t apply. But for any of you that, as Patton Oswalt said, have been “mesmerized by Jared Leto’s cult leader eyes,” that will certainly play a part in how sympathetic you feel towards Leto’s character.
Hammy acting from old man Jared Leto is ultimately its biggest downfall. The film chooses to have different actors play the main characters as a child/teenager/adult. But instead of hiring an old man, they decided to heap on pounds of Raisin Bran skin on Leto. For some, it puts an offbeat spin to a tale that takes itself very seriously. But if you find old people makeup distracting like I do, then it’ll seem very off.
THE OVERALL: With that being said, I thought it was pretty good. I wouldn’t call it brilliant. The movie borrows too much from its predecessors, leaving little for itself. This was the director/writer Jaco van Dormael’s second full length film, and ignoring the similarities of other movies in this genre would be pointless. It lacks the rawness of Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, and the dire yet whimsical nature often associated with Michael Gondry. The style is very similar to The Fountain. It can be a bit sappy like I Heart Huckabees. But it shares elements of them all which may be enough to make it stand alone.
TL;DR: Very beautiful though a bit too pleased with itself. In the end Mr. Nobody is at least worth the watch, with the ending either making you feel cheated or fulfilled.
Mr. Nobody is currently available on Netflix.