Mr Nobody

Before children are born, their lips are touched by the angels of oblivion. It’s why we can remember the past but not the future. But they did miss one, which was born with the gift of foresight.

Imagine, as this child, it turns out you chose the wrong parents. A couple who seemed a viable choice, turns into a family destroyed and the child is forced to choose once again, between two parents he equally loves. Wouldn’t you want to know the consequences of your choice? If the promise of true happiness lies within your grasp, wouldn’t you reach?
And so, the story of Nemo Nobody begins. Or rather, stories.

I think I might have watched the extended version, without checking the length beforehand. And so, I invested 2 and a half hours into something I watched largely with mixed feelings.

As a determinist, I keep track of the facts and check them with my own theories and if they don’t match, I usually end up hating the movie regardless of the acting, directing, or amount and size of featured guns. The concept is pretty easy, people: If it happens in the past, it is set in stone, including your trip back there. It can’t be changed because it already did.

I digress.

Nemo is played by that singer from 30 Seconds to Mars, which makes it terribly hard for me to take him seriously. Luckily there is enough eye candy, from barely-legal nakedness to spaceships getting riddled with asteroids, to distract from the guy’s emo babyface. In fact, in the first minute alone, you are stabbed in the eyes with it, giving you a foresight of the confusion ahead.
You will be watching fictional tales, memories, predictions, flashbacks, flash-forwards and sideways jumps in space and time until your brain melts.

Despite that, the movie could have been reduced to and hour and a half without losing content, although I suppose as a child examining the space-time continuum, you’ll want to take as much time and/or space you can.

The science nerd inside me got the weirdest boner occasionally, but since this is Hollywood and not Europe, the explanations were kind of hollow and presented with nice typographic tricks. Subjects like entropy, the chaos theory, determinism and fatalism are tossed around next to things like depression, regret and love, although in the director’s mind, it seems like the latter set deserved more repetitive shots of pretty much the same thing dragging on. I understand that some things in life are tedious, but don’t need to experience it too vividly to get the point.

To be honest, after watching a couple too many David Lynch movies (actually everything David Lynch is one too many imho) I wasn’t expecting everything to make much sense near the end. Especially since the movie tries to depict life as its takes its course(s), and we all know most people die without much of a conclusion. But in a matter of minutes, the end is looped around and suddenly everything kind of makes sense. I was pleased with that- I get a little frustrated when it doesn’t.

It doesn’t often happen that something I initially had my doubts about, ends up impressing me. Usually it’s the other way around. And because of that, I would recommend seeing it. Precisely because it makes sense, it is worth watching. Like your average Lynch movie (and frankly they’re all average), this one succeeds in fucking with your mind properly once in a while but in the end, puts everything back in its place and with a kiss on the forehead, sends you on your way to give some thought about what you saw.

And also very un-Lynch-like, the events depicted might not always be possible, but lo and behold, at least they seem plausible. This isn’t just some dick measuring contest between the director (who ever he might be) and the audience, but the movie rides piggyback on existing theories and give or take some interpretations of said theories and the existence of the angels of oblivion, one could argue the story could actually take place. It takes some thought to get to that point, as opposed to a series of flashes inside someone’s made-up ride, making you feel too stupid to “get” something that has no actual content. But enough about Lynch.

If you are at all interested in the linear passage of time, the impact of love on a life, the difficulty of choice, the existence of alternate dimensions, the imagination of a child, the hardships of a relationship, the beauty of a mind, or pretty much anything, you might want to see this movie. It will make you sit and think for a while.


One response

  1. Dr. Dieter

    This movie seems to divide people in 2 camps: you either love it or hate it.
    I’m in the latter group I’m afraid.
    I remember it as a long and pretentious.
    Am curious to view it again though now, even though I might regret it again…

    “… but since this is Hollywood and not Europe … ”

    Actually the director (Jaco Van Dormael) is a Belgian, the producer and his production company Pan-Européenne are French, and the film was shot in Belgium, Germany and Canada. So quite European actually!

    3 June 2014 at 23:49

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