Cinema Review: Mr. Nobody | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 23rd, 2021  

Mr. Nobody

Studio: Magnolia
Written and Directed by Jaco Van Dormael

Nov 04, 2013 Web Exclusive
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As a nine year old, Nemo Nobody’s parents divorce, and he is forced to make an impossible choice: does he leave with his adulterous mother, or remain with his shattered father? In writer-director Jaco Van Dormael’s Mr. Nobody, the repercussions of this decision play out over myriad scenarios spanning 109 years. Depending on the decision he makes as a boy, adult Nemo (Jared Leto) either winds up madly in love with Anna (Diane Kruger), his mother’s lover’s daughter; married to the ever-depressed Elise (Sarah Polley) who is still in love with her high school ex; or entirely unfulfilled yet married, rich, and father to two boys with Jeanne (Linh-Dan Pham). Regardless of the true outcome of Nemo’s decision, all three possibilities are uttered during the dying gasps of 118 year old Nemo Nobody, the last mortal on Earth, surrounded by a new race of quasi-mortals in the year 2092.

If it sounds confusing, it’s because it is. Van Dormael seems unsure of what exactly it is he’s trying to say, and thus, Mr. Nobody rambles on for nearly two and a half hours attempting to reconcile ideas about love, choice, entropy, the butterfly effect, quantum mechanics, and existentialism. By saying so much, Van Dormael winds up saying nothing, and what at first promises to be an exciting look at immortality quickly dissolves into three separate teen angst-fests. While the romance between Anna and Nemo (as step siblings) is genuinely engaging, it’s bogged down by two far inferior alternatives and infrequent, almost intrusive jumps back to 2092.

The film is not without its strengths. Van Dormael offers arresting visuals of the dream-like world Nemo navigates between realities, as well as of the future. However, the bulk of the film takes place in apartments in the early 2000s. The future is the most curious part of this world, yet no explanation is given for why or how any of it has come about. Nemo is perpetually concerned with choice, but the easy choice here is to watch something more coherent.

Author rating: 2/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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July 12th 2015

“By saying so much, Van Dormael winds up saying nothing”
Oh please. You didn’t understand the film at all.
I came from rotten tomatoes to tell you you really shouldn’t speak if you’re not smart enough to get the film. Which was really well thought from start to finish.
I hope by mow you lost this job ‘cause your opinion is worthless.