IMDb Rating: 7,9/10
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi
Director: Jaco Van Dormael
Writer: Jaco Van Dormael
Stars: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger
Life is full of decisions and whatever the decision you choose, it can change the whole in the future. “Mr. Nobody” isn’t just a sci-fi movie that listed in the genre. Like Richard Kelly’s “Donnie Darko,” Jaco Van Dormael directed and wrote everything in this movie with a touch that would never be broken. Both movies also have a similar trademark which is related to time travel yet it’s not the same too and a sci-fi genre which is more than that. It’s not a movie that is always becoming a debate for the community or fans like “Donnie Darko” but “Mr. Nobody” is so difficult to explain at the beginning unless you watch it first. This review may also be quite difficult to explain without a little spoiler but just like I review “Donnie Darko,” I’ll just cover it in a way.
In the year 2092, one hundred eighteen year old Nemo is recounting his life story to a reporter. He is less than clear, often times thinking that he is only thirty-four years of age. But his story becomes more confusing after he does focus on the fact of his current real age. He tells of his life at three primary points in his life: at age nine (when his parents divorced), age sixteen and age thirty-four. The confusing aspect of the story is that he tells of alternate life paths, often changing course with the flick of a decision at each of those ages. One life path has him ultimately married to Elise, a depressed woman who never got over the unrequited love she had for a guy named Stefano when she was a teenager and who asked Nemo to swear that when she died he would sprinkle her ashes on Mars. A second life path has him married to Jean. Their life is one of luxury but one also of utter boredom. And a third life path has him in a torrid romance with his step-sister Anna, the two who, as adults, would search for each other after having been torn apart as teenagers. These life paths also intersect, with the three women sometimes entering the alternate life in some other aspect. Are any of these lives real or are they all a figment of his imagination?
This movie tells the story of Nemo Nobody played by Jared Leto, a mortal human who is still alive until 2092 at the age of 120 years. His uniqueness makes a future metropolitan city made a special show for him where the event tells an experience based on his memory until the end of his life. Along with the coming of a reporter who tried to interview him, Nemo told his life in a non-parallel or non-linear way as if he were on any timelines. The uniqueness of this film is that there is no transition which connects a link between one timeline to another. So, it’s quite difficult if you wanna analysis each scene and needs some efficiency so you can pull the conclusion at the end. It’s not what I expected too because I hope a lot of what will happen at the end of the movie. Although it also cannot be said as a twist, “Mr. Nobody” has a variety of things that can be drawn.
The fact that not only Jaco Van Dormael wants to convey something from this movie, the process is well-executed and seems excellent. Just like Richard Kelly, the synopsis is just as the main occasion that comes at the beginning of the film but the story is more than that and it’s quite difficult to explain. This is about life and time that associated together. If you have ever watched “The Tatami Galaxy” which is an anime that is not much different from this movie about a second choice or more, “Mr. Nobody” feels familiar to me. While Nemo became the centered of the story, he lives on various timelines that it has in his memory. Imagine if you are in a different life or become a different person, the rest of the movie can be said like that. The movie also mentions various things related to itself such as the butterfly effect, an effect which will change the whole in the future. For example, in this movie, it’s defined as a dead leaf as the butterfly effect where the leaf is always in various timelines that Nemo’s told. This effect can change everything where he will live a different life such as his faith or he will never bear thanks to the leaf which brings his parents together.
“Mr. Nobody” actually tells about a probability of remaining in decisions on a particular timeline. For example, when you choose an ice cream or a doughnut. The decision will determine your life in the end whether it’s small or big things. It’s not easy to understand in the first few minutes of this movie because the movie goes straight into the story without any forwardness. The rest, there are 13 or more timelines told from Nemo’s perspective itself such as when he chooses to follow his father or mother at the train station, when Nemo refuses to swim with Anna or agree with it, when Nemo lives with Elise or lives without her, when Nemo dies in an accident or not, and other probabilities. The probability of the timeline also encourages various decisions that will determine the path and fate of his life. It’s like a branch of tree analogous to the branch is the probability of Nemo itself.
For me, “Mr. Nobody” is a not-too-smart movie but sometimes comes into the category. I don’t blame it because this is one that can be said as an awesome too. Furthermore, this is a simple film with a cleverly developed for the puzzles. This movie also nothing more than a sequence of pieces which are not neatly created because of intentionality which results in one of the random movies. But, this movie is also not very suitable for people who are not familiar with a non-linear film from beginning to end. So, a quite extra patience will be needed for a casual viewer. From a visual point of view, it can also be said as a fancy with a non-linear structure with well-manipulated. The cinematography taken by Jaco Van Dormael is arguably unique with the editing without a transition. Bottom line, it’s great with certain impressions but became one of the watchable with a two or more hours duration.
Jared Leto as Nemo is a low-key but quite fine in terms of performance. He’s not too incredible, but at least one of the performances that are mostly dominated in this movie. Along with Diane Kruger as Anna, she is one who can be competed with Jared Leto. There is Sarah Polley as Elise is such a fascinating character who played the second choice of the Nemo’s timeline. Linh Dan Pham as Jean didn’t take much part became one of the main focused too. Each cast can be said pretty random but has its own meaning for each character. And finally, if you are so curious about what this movie wants to say, “Mr. Nobody” actually relates to the philosophy of life and each choice whether you choose this or not choose anything, it’s very decisive in the future. It’s about the second chance of life or you could just think, “what if I choose this one before?” or “what if I become this or that?” This movie is no more than a time travel in general which alludes to various references that relate to itself. It’s about fixing the past, correcting the mistakes, or regretting what you chose so that you make as an experience for not to do that anymore.
“Mr. Nobody” is a watchable list that is enough to make us think twice before and after watching this movie. The movie also seems like an indie movie such as Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” which some parts remind me of the movie. This is a fantasy yet imagination universe created by Van Dormael and written by him too. This movie also has at least random impressions in terms of cast and story. It’s not one of the best I’ve ever seen because the conclusion at the end seems simple but becomes one of the spectacles that will make you confused for a few minutes.