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Mr. Nobody (Blu-ray Review)

Mr. Nobody - www.whysoblu.comMr. Nobody tells the life story of Nemo Nobody, a 118-year-old man who is the last mortal on Earth after the human race has achieved quasi-immortality. On his deathbed, Nemo shares his life story with a reporter and reviews the choices he made along the way. Yet even with his last breath, a pivotal decision awaits to conclude his destiny. 

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Mr. Nobody - www.whysoblu.com

Film 

Mr. Nobody may or may not be a tricky flick to review, because it’s technically a “new” release in the United States even though it went into production way back in 2007 and was released in 2009 in various countries in a limited capacity. It was also released here in the states in a limited release last year, I believe. Mr. Nobody was also available as an import from various countries on Blu-ray and DVD. This edition of the film is the first authentic U.S. product that features BOTH cuts of the film. We have the Unrated Extended Director’s Cut and a Theatrical Cut. This review will be for the Unrated Director’s Cut only.

Mr. Nobody stars the chameleon Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club, Fight Club) as he plays the character of Nemo Nobody – the 118 year-old-last person on Earth that will die. You see, it’s currently the year 2092 and the people of this Earth have discovered quasi-immortality meaning that they can alter their cell composition and rebuild it so as not to grow old and die. Nemo is not one of these people as he is being taken care of in an observation chamber as he recants his life’s story to a strange tattooed doctor. In addition to telling his story his fate also lies in a twisted voting system by a media hungry populace who vote (American Idol style) as to whether he should live or die.

The tale leads us many years earlier to a couple of Nemo’s alternate timelines. The first one, as a 9-year old child, is of him with his “Mother” (Natasha Little) and “Father” (Rhys Ifans). Things don’t go well with Mother and Father and make plans to separate thus making young Nemo choose which parent he wants to be with. This sets off the chain of possible outcomes as we get to see what happens when he chooses to stay with his mother and what happens when he decides to stay with is father. Also thrown in to the mix are three young girls whom Nemo likes. They are Elise, Anna, and Jeanne. They figure prominently into Nemo’s life for the rest of it in various ages. In fact, Nemo’s trajectory has already been set and he will follow each path set up for him until it comes to fruition. He’s technically meant to be with Anna who will eventually be played by Juno Temple at age 15 and then will morph into Diane Kruger as an adult. The adventure in the film is that we will see Nemo go through various lives as he tries to find the ultimate outcome with Anna.

Yes, it sounds like a hard pill to swallow and I guess that’s why it worked for me on so many levels. Belgian writer-director Jaco Van Dormael has crafted a very ambitious project in Mr. Nobody that was quite reminiscent of Cloud Atlas, minus the reincarnation, but which focused more on not knowing and making choices. The Butterfly Effect, string theory, chaos theory, and all sorts of theories also came into play in the film. One could almost say that Mr. Nobody also is a bit of a genre-bending film as it contains hints of science fiction, love story flourishes, drama, thriller element, etc. I really liked the fact that no matter what choice Nemo made during his life – boy, teen, adult, we were able to go along for the ride to its completion of that choice. The film was smartly edited and it never felt overindulgent or convoluted. Mysticism is also touched up and a unicorn or two along with some angels make an appearance as well.

I’m really surprised that it took this long for Mr. Nobody to get a proper U.S. release even it was just on home video. It’s a big budget independent feature financed by various countries and I do understand and can see how it would have been impossible to market it in the states. Films like this aren’t very viable these days. You may also be wondering why I gave Mr. Nobody a perfect 5-star score. It was simply for being a wonderfully entertaining film that left me asking more questions than the answers I was given. It’s a big budget existential film and I am a big fan of the subjects it touched upon. It didn’t hurt that it also had a great cast of folks in it.

I’m still amazed at how long it’s taken for Mr. Nobody to hit stateside in a wide release on home video. A lot of the actors featured in the film have all grown up and become established in Hollywood and most have gone on to wide acclaim and have starred in many Hollywood blockbusters. Mr. Nobody is a quiet film but lets loose during times of introspection. It will leave you asking questions by the time you finish the journey but if it had the same effect on you that it did for me you will want to take the journey again. If Mr. Nobody had been released in 2013 it would most certainly have made it on my Top-10 list of best films of the year. Can we go back to 2009? 😉

 

Mr. Nobody - www.whysoblu.com

Video 

Encoding: AVC MPEG-4 (Both)

Resolution: 1080p (Unrated) – 720p (Theatrical)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: Crystal clear and pristine is what this film looks like. Contrast was never boosted unless they were going for a stylistic effect, which there are many, but none of the natural scenes have that artificial look to them. Detail levels are immaculate.

Depth: Let’s not stand on ceremony here, Mr. Nobody. The film looks incredible on Blu-ray! Yes, this is a demo-worthy presentation.

Black Levels: Black levels are stellar, as I did not detect any instances of crush or boosting.

Color Reproduction: Mr. Nobody has a very colorful palette as it takes places throughout the years. Sometimes the scenery looks vivid and lush, other times it looks hazy and washed out, and in the future everything looks sleek and fancy. The Blu-ray handles it all with ease. Color banding was never an issue here.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look natural and never look boosted. Jared Leto’s old age make-up is a wonder to behold that looks incredible in high definition. You really can’t tell its Leto underneath the prosthetics. Everyone else also look healthy and natural.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not detect any instances of dirt, debris, or noise. Not an anomaly was stirring not even a mouse.

 

Mr. Nobody - www.whysoblu.com

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English DTS -HD Master Audio 5.1 (Unrated), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical)

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish (Unrated), English SDH, Spanish (Theatrical)

Dynamics: Mr. Nobody is a multi-genre kind of film, so that calls for a very creative sound design that will be hushed and quiet one minute and loud and brash the next. The love story elements are all very tender and use music in a very haunting way before we might cut to another POV or scene of death and or/destruction. These levels are very impressive and by the score that its been given you can very well say that the video presentation for Mr. Nobody on Blu-ray is demo-worthy.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE levels were spot on and gave the film that exceptional low rumble during the various scenes in outer space and on the space station. The LFE gets in a nice and subtle workout in every other scene that has “action” and music.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels are very aggressive without overpowering the front stage. You know you’re in for a treat when the opening logos carry sound through the rear channels that discretely zoom from one end to the other.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean, clear, and crisp. You can understand every word coming out of everyone’s mouth including the shaky and broken words of an elderly Nemo.

 

Mr. Nobody - www.whysoblu.com

Extras 

Mr. Nobody gets a perfect score in the special features department for simply including TWO full-length cuts of the film itself. I really like when alternate version of good films get included on a Blu-ray set. It elevates the material to a higher level. Deleted scenes, a very informative making-of featurette, trailer, and EPK are also included. It’s the inclusion of BOTH cuts that shine in this set. With the exception of the deleted scenes everything is also presented in HD, too.

  • Unrated Extended Director’s Cut (1080p HD, 2:35:54) – The full unrated extended director’s cut as was originally conceived by writer-director Jaco Van Dormael
  • R-rated Theatrical Version (720p HD, 2:19:17) – The shorter and more exhibition friendly theatrical cut of the film. Whether it works or not remains to be seen, but once you go unrated and extended you don’t go back.
  • The Making of Mr. Nobody (HD, 45:08) – A fun and very informative making-of documentary showcasing what the cast and crew had to go through in order to make Mr. Nobody into reality. This featurette is of substance and is very cool. Fluff it is not.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 6:51) – A bit jarring to see what ended up being left on the cutting room floor, because they’re presented in SD and have that weird PAL speed-up to them. Some of these scenes were a bit too chaotic and out of character for Nemo. They have been excised and rightfully so.
  • AXS TV: A Look at Mr. Nobody (HD, 3:25) – Okay, here’s a brief fluff piece that features clips of the film with the typical talking head stuff that we’re so used to nowadays.
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:06) – The full theatrical trailer presented in HD. It’s a pretty good one, too. It’s what peaked my interest many months ago when I first saw it.

 

 

Mr. Nobody - www.whysoblu.com

Summary 

It’s pretty obvious that Mr. Nobody on Blu-ray floored me. The stellar video, audio, and the supplements more than made up for this ambitious tale of love, loss, and self. I can’t remember the last time I gave a Blu-ray or DVD a perfect score on WSB but Mr. Nobody is going down in the books for getting that coveted score. It hit me right between the eyes and I was taken prisoner – a willing prisoner. Remember, if you’re up for it  – I’d suggest Cloud Atlas as the perfect companion piece to Mr. Nobody since it also deals with similar themes and situations. Mr. Nobody on Blu-ray is definitely going on my Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014 list.

 

 


 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “Mr. Nobody (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    I gotta say. You have me mighty curious about this one!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Honestly, I think you would like this one, B.