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'Mr. Nobody' review: Chase the bear and turn back time

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Mr. Nobody


"Mr. Nobody" will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, February 25.

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"Mr. Nobody" began its run on the festival circuit back in 2009 and was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Canada in late 2010. The film was finally released in theaters in the United States in November of 2013; although obviously it had a limited run. It had been nearly four years since this critic’s first viewing of the film, so it was in dire need of a revisit to see if it had held up over that inevitable passing of time that the film brings into question at every turn. For the most part, "Mr. Nobody" is still the fantastic yet abstract and surreal experience it was when it was first released.

In 2092, quasi-immortality and the regeneration of cells allow human beings to stay young forever. The last mortal on Earth named Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) just turned 118, is on his deathbed, and is also completely surrounded by the media in order to illustrate how humans used to live. A young journalist with an appetite for the story of a lifetime sneaks into Nemo's room to get answers from this man from a forgotten time first hand. But Nemo's story is pure nonsense. He lives with one parent and then the other before being married to one woman one moment and spending his life seeking out a completely different woman the next. He has children yet never had any. He journeyed to Mars, but never actually existed at all. The perplexing tale told by an old man may just be pure insanity, but there's that slight chance that everything and nothing is happening at the same time and Nemo is the only person who's been able to navigate in absolutely every direction imaginable.

It's quite incredible looking back at Jared Leto's acting career. The Louisiana-born actor is mostly known for his roles in "American Psycho," "Requiem for a Dream," and "Lord of War" and Leto has currently been getting a ton of awards for his performance as the AIDS-stricken drag queen Rayon in "Dallas Buyers Club." Leto's performance in "Mr. Nobody" has shades of the impeccable talent Leto puts on full display in "Dallas Buyers Club." Leto not only plays different versions of himself in "Mr. Nobody," but the older version of himself is quite believable thanks not only to spectacular makeup effects but also because Leto is surprisingly convincing as an old man. With his trembling movements and the way his raspy vocals seem to quaver uncontrollably from just simply speaking of his extraordinary past, Leto illustrates that he's one of the most talented actors working today.

The science fiction drama by Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael has a way of making you question your existence quite literally. The film often brings in the movement of time; why does it always have to move forward? Can it be manipulated? "Mr. Nobody" looks at every possible decision a specific individual can make in their lifetime and how those lives are affected by every decision he or she has made. It's a lot to take in and it's even more to find yourself contemplating, but the film stays with you for that reason alone. It's practically guaranteed you'll reflect on what you've done in your lifetime once "Mr. Nobody" ends and what could have been if you had just taken a different path. No matter how drastic or minuscule those changes might be, your life would be forever altered because of them.

However, there are a few setbacks that stick out after seeing the film a second time; the main issue being that the duration is a bit too long. Sitting at nearly 160 minutes, "Mr. Nobody" does tend to drag quite a bit at times especially when such a large portion of the film is devoted to a teenage Nemo (portrayed by Toby Regbo) and his crush Anna (Juno Temple) rolling around under sheets in their underwear and chasing each other's genitals when they are practically brother and sister. Sarah Polley will also infuriate you. The Elise character cries at absolutely everything and is crippled by depression, but her griping of wondering what the problem is and being a bad parent could probably be solved by getting up and not drowning in a violent tantrum puddle of her own epiphora every time she's on screen.

Pondering your existence and realizing that not making a decision is the only decision are a few of the things "Mr. Nobody" touches on. You're where you are right now because of certain decisions you made in your life. But where would you be if you had lived with your dad instead of your mom growing up? Or if you married someone else? The possibilities are endless and "Mr. Nobody" portrays those what if scenarios flawlessly.

Complex, visually stunning, and pleasantly convoluted in an enjoyable sense, "Mr. Nobody" is a film that seems like it can't be confined to one genre and while time flows in one continuous direction "Mr. Nobody" makes it a point to constantly pedal in the opposite direction. Let your mind wander and drift into the bowels of yourself while viewing the bizarre, dreamlike, and intricate sequences of "Mr. Nobody."


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