May 3, 2011

Rabid Rewind: "Mr. Nobody"

Mr. Nobody
starring Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger
written and directed by Jaco Van Dormel
Pathe (2009)

How do you like your speculative fiction? Do you like it straight forward, asking that one big question? Or, do you prefer the movies that are more vague, less linear, and bordering on the pretentious? Well, if you answered the latter, then Mr. Nobody may be the movie for you.

Jared Leto plays Nemo Nobody plays a centenarian in the year 2092, famed as the last human who will die of natural causes, as technology has advanced to make aging obsolete. He is an enigma to the world and treated as less a celebrity, but more like a barnyard oddity. And a reporter has arrived to hear his life story, since so little is actually known about him.

But, Nemo's memories seem confuses as he tells his story with not one linear path, not two, but three. And each of these lives is visiting at three key moments in his life, during his childhood, teen years, and mid-thirties. Each of the three lifetimes show how his life played out after falling in love with one of three girls, Jeanne, Elise, and Anna.

The movie plays out in a non-linear fashion, shifting about not only through the three key time periods--along with brief interludes in Nemo's present as an old man narrating the tale--but also shifts between the three realities. Exploring the choices he made in his life and which ones were the right ones. When his parents divorced, would he choose to stay with his father in Britain or leave with his mother to Canada? Would he wind up with the emotionally disturbed Elise, the romantically distant Jeanne, or the girl who got away, Anna.

I really wanted to love this movie, and for the first ninety minutes I did. The problem was that there was another hour to go and the movie was spinning its wheels. God, I hate it when a movie insists on being over two hours long when so few need to be, and I think this one would have been fine if they had shaved fifteen to twenty minutes off of it.

There are some genuinely good performances from the likes of Sarah Polley as Elise, Juno Temple as the teenage Anna, and Rhyss Ifans as Nemo's father. Even Jared Leto offers up a strong performance as both the thirty-something Nemo and the elderly and invalid Nemo--under a metric ton of make-up effects.

It's a movie that is visually stunning to watch, both for the glimpses of the fantastical, but the effectiveness of the more mundane scenes. Again, my only real gripe as a viewer was the length of the film and how it seemed to stall a little after the midway point. I shouldn't be looking at the clock, waiting for the movie to wrap up, as it makes me harbor a resentment towards the rest of the film. Shame, too.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're in need of a good feel-good flick. Try, "The Blue Butterfly". It has William Hurt in it and was originally shot in French but has an English language track as well. The basic story is there is a kid, he's dying from cancer, and he wants to catch a Blue Morpho Butterfly. Through brave and desperate acts, he convinces Hurt's character to take him into the rainforest to catch one because Hurt wrote in a book that catching the beautiful butterfly once changed his life. There is a strong emotional current through the film and by the end I dare you not to appreciate the value of your life a little more. I tell everyone to watch this movie. After my mom passed away from cancer, I sat my wife down and made her watch it. She agreed, wiping tears away from her smiling face, it's a powerful movie.

    Another one to try is, "House of D". It was written and directed by the wonderfully sex-addicted, former Fox Mulder. Robin Williams will make you bust your gut with his perfomance as a mentally challenged janitor.