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Who Is Mr Nobody?

by on September 3, 2012

Once in a blue moon you come across entities that make you see beyond what you thought was visible. Ever so rarely, we come across a piece of art that makes us think beyond our mortal capacity. I’ve been lucky to discover a few of these gems across the worlds of literature, music and cinema. Today I pick out one of them from the latter – JacoVan Dormael’s masterpiece, Mr Nobody.

In the year 2092, in a world where a technique of ‘telomerization’ has allowed everyone to achieve quasi-immortality, Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) is, at the age of 117, the last mortal.We first meet him in a hi-tech, all-white hospital where a bald doctor with a tattooed face is testing his recall. Nemo suffers from memory loss, but he’s far from senile, and when a young journalist (Mays) slips into his hospital room to get an exclusive interview and the old man begins telling the impressionable reporter contradictory stories about his past, we’re unsure whether to ascribe this to senility or a mischievous game. Thus begins an unbelievably edited script of three alternate lives of a 9 year old boy. The parallel biographies all stem from one pivotal incident: the divorce of young Nemo’s parents and his decision – postponed until he is actually standing on the station platform – about whether to stay with his father or leave with his mother. The entire film is about a dilemma which most of us have faced, unfortunately – “Before [Nemo] was unable to make a choice because he didn’t know what would happen. Now that he knows what will happen, he is unable to make a choice.”

The sheer range of thoughts, themes, existential outlines and emotions that lead up to it makes this film one of the most exhilarating as well as exhausting experiences of my life. But the best thing about Mr Nobody is probably that it doesn’t try to leave you with a profound moral or message except, maybe something Nemo says. Here’s the quote: “The smoke comes out the daddy’s cigarette but it never goes back. We can’t turn back time, that’s why it is so hard to decide. We have to make the right choice. Until we don’t choose – everything remains possible.”

Like I’ve mentioned before, the editing by Matyas Veress and Susan Shipton is exceptional. Every scene is like a movie in itself yet the whole picture seems to fit in like a beautiful puzzle. Pierre Van Dormael does his part as the composer with perfection. A minimalist yet melodious score is exactly what the doctor ordered for this film. And the direction, well, few films that I’ve seen have offered such a visual treat and cerebral and emotional satisfaction as Mr Nobody. A well deserved 9.5 out of 10 from me.

Reviewed by AABG TEAM 

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