Record box office: the film of the Russian director topped the American distribution
A film by Russian director Ilya Naishuller “Nobody” was released in the United States and immediately topped the list of the most popular premieres. In the first three days of showing in Los Angeles cinemas, he grossed $ 6,7 million. Writes about it Air force.
According to critics, one of the main reasons for the success of the picture was the unexpected participation in it of actor Bob Odenkirk, who starred in the title role. Odenkirk, famous for his roles in the cult series Breaking Bad and in the prequel Better Call Saul, is known as a comedy actor, and his participation in the hardcore action at first caused a lot of questions from connoisseurs of cinema.
But this did not stop Naishuller. This is the first Hollywood project of the music video maker and author of the groundbreaking action film "Hardcore", which shows that the dream of Russian filmmakers to work in Hollywood is quite realizable.
In Russian distribution "Nobody" was released on March 18 - a week earlier than America.
Beware, contains spoilers.
Do not fool around, America
“Ours in Hollywood” is one of the eternal themes in the history of Russian cinema, a fairy tale about the distant promised land, which is secretly longed by almost all Russian filmmakers without exception. Menshov and Mikhalkov's Oscars, Zvyagintsev's Academy Award nominations, two films by Konchalovsky and Bekmambetov's never-ending breakthrough, Trotsky on Netflix are milestones on a path whose end always seems so far and so close.
From a somewhat retro perspective, it seems that both success and failure here are related to the same thing. For some reason, a poet in Russia is still more than a poet, art has a sacred status, and cinema is the most important of them. Hollywood is, after all, a dream factory - and the emphasis in this hackneyed formula for variety should be on the first word.
Six years ago, Ilya Naishuller, under the leadership of the same Bekmambetov, shot "Hardcore" - a spectacular and, whatever you say, an innovative first-person action movie. The picture was another chance for the long-awaited expansion, and the young director easily talked about the barrage of offers that fell upon him after the Toronto premiere.
Soon it began to seem that this, in fact, was the end of the case. Naishuller returned to Russia to shoot videos for Leningrad and his own indie band Biting Elbows. In addition, he produced two films - “I'm Losing Weight” by Alexei Nuzhny and “Marathon of Desires” by his own wife Daria Charushi. In general, there was a feeling that the American land did not accept another Russian.
When it became known that Naishuller was working on the action movie Nobody with John Wick writer Derek Kolstad and actor Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul), it also seemed to be a bit of a surrender. Instead of an author's project (Ilya talked about a big spy film even after "Hardcore") - a not too expensive production movie.
However, in interviews leading up to the film's release, the director described how he abandoned Tyler Rake (the Netflix action movie starring Chris Hemsworth), and the trailer for Nobody was shown during the Super Bowl. According to some estimates, an ad slot of the corresponding length cost Universal about $ 5 million. At this point, talk about a "walk-through film" could be stopped - the studio, obviously, made a serious bet on the picture.
Be a man
However, the creators' stakes were even more serious. If for Naishuller “Nobody” was the long-awaited next step towards a full-fledged Hollywood career, for Odenkirk it was the long-awaited breakdown of the familiar role of a puffy rascal. It is already obvious from the posters that the actor is almost unrecognizable. Preparation for “Nobody” took him a year and a half, it included not only getting himself into proper physical shape, but also active training with weapons (“Bob reloads his machine gun like a real special forces soldier,” boasts Naishuller in an interview).
Odenkirk also got the idea for the film - when a drunken stranger broke into his Los Angeles home. The actor called the police and at parting heard from the cops that he did everything right, but the officer who arrived in his place would have reacted somewhat harsherly to the threat to the family.
The blow to male pride eventually transformed into the plot of the film. Two robbers break into the humble hard worker and exemplary family man “Hutch” Munsell. He is about to smash his wild heads with a golf club, but for some reason he stops, waits for the police and receives a toxic rebuke from a neighbor.
Gradually, we learn that Hutch has truly deadly skills, and his skills have been itching for a long time and thoroughly. Soon there is an opportunity to use them, standing up to protect the girl, to whom drunken bastards have stuck on the night bus.
Having crumbled their teeth and Adam's apple, Hutch with a sense of accomplishment returns home to lick his wounds (“As in the good old days,” says wife Connie Nielsen sarcastically). However, the clash will continue: one of the victims of Hutch's fists (Alexander Pal) turns out to be the brother of the Russian mafia Julian (Alexei Serebryakov). Revenge is inevitable, but our compatriots do not yet know who they have contacted, because Hutch has long lacked a black blood bath.
It is interesting that at the level of concept "Nobody" has something in common not only with "John Wick", but also with Bekmabetov's Hollywood debut "Especially Dangerous". Only there it was about a man who wanted to become a hero, and here - about an adrenaline maniac who refuses to fight his nature. This distinction is the engine that allows the viewer to zip through Naishuller's film in one go. There is basically no first-person filming here, but, of course, it was not without attractions. And it's not even about ingeniously filmed action, but rather about acting. The hero's father is played by 84-year-old Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown from the Back to the Future trilogy) - and he has not had such a fun role for a very long time (or maybe never at all).
Separate compliments deserve Serebryakov, who finally freed himself from the alcoholic role of the hero of "Leviathan" and seems to be experiencing a new renaissance as a character actor. His first appearance under the "Accountant" of the "Combination" group is a pure delight for the viewer, which distinguishes conscious kitsch from the notorious "cranberry".
Naishuller says that initially the Koreans were supposed to be Hutch's opponents, but he insisted on the Russians, because, firstly, he knows them better, and secondly, he wants to play with the clichés of the Russian mafia from Hollywood films. The prank, of course, was a success: the confrontation between the two heroes, although it sometimes has a somewhat cartoonish shade (due to the graphic physiognomy of Odenkerk and Serebryakov), is held on an equal footing.
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At a non-Soviet speed
Nobody, of course, can be blamed for its lackluster soundtrack - a shootout to What a Wonderful World in 2021, seriously? One can also speculate that Naishuller lacks either shamelessness, or sincere faith in the chaos on the screen, which is in the best action films of the 1980s and 90s such as "Die Hard".
On the other hand, it’s not that anyone in the past twenty years has managed to repeat that magic, or, at least, put it on stream. Yes, and such a task was not set here. It is more important that “Nobody” is not a film of a “Russian in Hollywood”, but a movie made with an absolute understanding of what action should be like today and seasoned with a fair amount of charming irony.
Naishuller, fortunately, has absolutely no craving for sweeping big style or imperial kitsch (like Bekmambetov did). His film is lean and ergonomic, and vignettes (like a cameo by Sergei Shnurov) in it do not harm aerodynamics.
Instead of “traditional Russian values” - honor, conscience, or there a mysterious soul, which in themselves are poorly converted into box office receipts, Naishuller proposed a lively and sharp mind and some kind of completely alien faith in oneself.
As it turned out, these qualities are quite in demand across any ocean. And what is more important, they provided an opportunity not to waste time on compromises and to take the right second step towards a confident dialogue with a global audience.
Making any further predictions or writing advances is, of course, empty, but it seems that Ilya's next American film will have to wait less than six years. And, what is nice, you can wait for it without fear, but on the contrary - with unconditional curiosity.
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