Starring Jared Leto, Diane Kruger and Sarah Polley. Directed by Jaco Van Dormael. 138 minutes. 14A
Imagine a life where you never had to make choices. What do you want for breakfast? What film will you watch this evening? Or who will you marry five years from now? Instead, you could have it all at once. It also sounds too excessive to be fulfilling. Would you ever really savour anything? Would you ever even want anything anymore? But it at least sounds like a life a lot less worrying. It’s the life Mr. Nobody lives. Or doesn’t live. If he even exists at all.
In Mr. Nobody, Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) is a 117-year-old man living in 2092, when he will be the last man to die of natural causes. It’s an odd world. Many objects float, no one has sex anymore and people take vacations to Mars. Nemo stars in a reality show, seemingly unknowingly, where the world watches the last days of his life while doctors and scientists and journalists try to figure out who this old man once was. Meanwhile, Nemo has flashbacks of his youthful life.
Leto doesn’t say much as a young Nemo, instead his wide-eyes and heavy breathing carry scenes. However, as an old man, he shouts in passionate anger and revels in memories. His voice is withered and wispy. He blinks solemnly. It’s almost as if Leto is an old man and his younger scenes are the ones under heavy makeup. Hey, who knows. It seems anything is possible in this film.
Mr. Nobody is a film for the thinker, but not in the Matrix-y way where the story is told and it’s up to you to understand it. Instead, Mr. Nobody melds life and death; reality and fiction; past, present and future; and alternate plot lines. It’s not about trying to figure out what’s actually going on, but rather gets you to think about the what ifs, both in the film and your own life.
Aside from beautiful ideas, the cinematography is also interesting. It’s very artsy and simple. It almost feels like stepping into a modern art gallery. It perfectly compliments the quirky, thoughtful narrative.
It’s a great film to get lost in, whether you’re tracing story lines or entranced by composition or tangled somewhere else in your own thoughts. A-