Mr. Nobody Blu-ray Review
“We cannot go back. That’s why it’s hard to choose. You have to make the right choice. As long as you don’t choose, everything remains possible.”
These words, spoken by a young boy, became more haunting with each minute as I watched MR. NOBODY, a new-to-Blu film (though it was originally made in 2009) from Belgian director Jaco Van Dormeal. MR. NOBODY features recent Oscar®-Winner Jared Leto in one of his finest performances to date, alongside a slew of other young actors (also playing Nemo Nobody) at various ages, all of whom are exceptional on screen.
When I saw the first preview for MR. NOBODY I was honestly turned off. I thought it looked like the kind of pretentious garbage many people associate with the stereotype of independent film. It looked like another art-house romance with some nudity and a little science fiction twist. I thought it would be a massacre. But MR NOBODY does something you rarely get to see in cinema; it excels in telling a story in a way which could only be conveyed through film (something many movies should aspire to do, in my humble opinion).
MR. NOBODY is the story of Nemo Nobody, a man who literally sees (and lives) the various consequences of choices he makes. Within this story are at least ten different worlds, ten varying accounts of Nemo’s life, all of which are being recalled by an old man without an identity in the year 2092. Though it sounds like a high concept scrambled egg of a movie, Jared Leto as our title character anchors the film with astonishing weight. His performance is staggering, the kind of role you hope to see once or twice in a lifetime as a critic, which makes me all the more disappointed because MR. NOBODY could have vanished without ever getting any traction here in the States.
Nemo has different lives with different wives in each of his recollections. But what is the truth, and can a single moment define a person? I don’t like to ask questions constantly without answers, but MR. NOBODY is the kind of movie that gets you thinking about your own life, your own choices, as you ruminate on the impacts of the smallest choices you make in everyday life. The biggest thought, the biggest conundrum posed by MR. NOBODY, is how do you survive when you live a life both shackled and free of choice? The choices we make define who we are as humans. It is a theme central to classical history and I’m surprised that nobody has flipped it on its head like this before now.
The reason MR. NOBODY works, though, is that all of the elements comprising a film come together in an incredible package that is a little hard to take in. AVATAR created a whole new world in 2009 through technical achievement but many people left wishing for a better story. In MR. NOBODY we are given an opportunity to see a marvel of human ingenuity, a film that absolutely conveys, in every technical aspect, the very nature of life and our world. Nemo wants to make the right choices but slowly he realizes that there isn’t any such thing, a truth many of us will never learn. Even though it is a high concept film, MR. NOBODY takes what could have been a sloppy mess and presents a deeply compelling narrative. I highly recommend it.
MR. NOBODY BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.34:1) The wide narrative of MR NOBODY works on film, and in HD, in a way that immerses you into the multiple worlds across space and time. It’s beautiful and surreal with universal and beautiful hints of the real world.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound presentation on MR NOBODY is similar to the video in it’s total immersion, despite the clear un-reality of everything. When technical achievement is matched by the overall story, as it is here, it is truly a remarkable experience. MR NOBODY gave me that experience.
Theatrical Version (02:19:17) Since the extended version of MR NOBODY is the default selection, you’ll have to look in special features to find the still-very-long theatrical release version of MR NOBODY. It’s still good but I prefer the extended version (which doesn’t happen that much anymore). If you enjoy the movie I highly recommend checking out both versions.
The Making of MR NOBODY (45:08) Made for French television, this is a very nicely made, in depth look at the making of MR NOBODY. If you liked the movie, there are a ton of really cool shots, interviews, and more here. Strangely, even though the film is in English this featurette is subtitled and in French. The director and cast all get ample time to discuss why they are involved and Dormael spends significant time explaining his vision, captured beautifully in the final film.
Deleted Scenes (06:51) Usually I don’t care for the deleted scenes on discs anymore but these actually do advance MR NOBODY. I’m not upset they were cut but I would have been happy to see them in the final edit. Four scenes are featured on the Blu-ray, including Brawl & Elise’s Wedding, Nemo & Anna on the Bus, Clara, and Father’s Painting.
AXS TV: A Look at MR NOBODY (03:25) Not worth watching if you check out the ‘Making of’ featurette above. For those who want to see a tiny bit of MR NOBODY. AXS TV promotes Magnolia’s features but these are really just kind of tacked onto the blu-ray.
The MR NOBODY Blu-ray also features the Theatrical Trailer (02:06) and previews for other recent Magnolia pictures’ releases.