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The Auteurs Daily: Venice and Toronto. Mr. Nobody

The Auteurs Daily

Mr. Nobody

"Nemo Nobody is dying," writes Todd Brown at Twitch. "Nemo Nobody is in love. Nemo Nobody is old and infirm. Nemo Nobody is a wide-eyed child. Nemo Nobody is rich and successful. Nemo Nobody is a wild-haired bum sleeping on a park bench. Are any of these things true? Are any false? If we refuse to choose between them can they not all be true simultaneously? This is the central question of Jaco van Dormael's gorgeous, experimental, incredibly high-concept science fiction feature Mr. Nobody."

"Almost moving in its gonzo self-assuredness and take-no-prisoners narrative scope... Mr. Nobody is as ambitious as it is incoherent, an obvious labor of love that's equal parts science-fiction, romance, and Lynchian mind game." Michael Koresky at indieWIRE: "The central problem of Mr. Nobody isn't really that in the end it doesn't seem to make much sense (literal, metaphorical, or otherwise), but that, unlike in the similarly intentionally befuddling Donnie Darko, the getting there isn't all that fun."

It's "a mess and a miracle at the same time," finds Lee Marshall, writing for Screen, "a densely and sometimes bafflingly plotted sci-fi parable and love story of huge cinematic verve and scope, centring on the real and fantasy memories of the last mortal man on earth. It convinces in the end not so much with its gently dystopian future-world imaginings but through its emotionally involving dramatisation of those big 'what if I'd taken that other road? questions that we all ask ourselves."

"Establishing a plethora of possible lives and identities for Jared Leto's (consistently lovelorn) protagonist and shuffling through them in a manner whose logic takes a very long time to emerge - but never quite arrives at a clear emotional payoff," writes Guy Lodge at In Contention. "Compensating visual delights abound, however: for the past and present-day sequences, van Dormael has fashioned a stylized, candy-colored domestic world that echoes the stateless nostalgia of Jean-Pierre Jeunet."

"It's a sort-of-sci-fi European romance in which Sliding Doors meets The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with a hefty dose of The Matrix thrown in at the end," suggests Empire's Damon Wise.

Sylvie Olivé won the Osella for Best Production Designer in Venice; screens Friday and Saturday in Toronto.

Update, 9/19: "The film is less Sliding Doors than a series of revolving doors, and auds will be too busy figuring out what's going on much of the time to contemplate the underlying themes, such as chance, choice and the potential of every person to influence the course of his or her own life." Boyd van Hoeij in Variety: "But despite the film's clever construction and its often whimsical asides, there's a benign humanism underneath it all that ensures that the pic is finally about emotions, not artifice."

TIFF 09: Index; full coverage; lineup.


Well, I’d like to see that, juxtaposition with BB notwithstanding.

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