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Just caught the north American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
This is my first IMDb comment, doing it cause i saw no one else has
written anything yet.
Jaco is an absolutely brilliant writer/director. I haven't seen too many art-house films, but I was pleasantly surprised by the tone which wasn't too serious, or pretentious. There were laugh out loud moments during a movie with themes concerning choice, destiny, and metaphysics.
I was enamoured by the love story, it was feel good without being Hollywood.
The visuals were amazing. I believe that Jaco explained that he used different DP's to film the different possible lives of Mr. Nobody. There were scenes set in the year 2092 that were absolutely stunning on the big screen.
I found the soundtrack to be awesome. Any movie with "Mr. Sandman" and "Where is my mind?" is alright by me.
The movie was extremely imaginative, original, funny, and will probably have me thinking about it and my own life for days after viewing.
There's one thing about this film that makes me overlook the flaws:it's like nothing I've ever seen before. Some people walked out 20 minutes before the movie ended. I can't really explain to myself why ANYONE would do that (it was really tempting to ask but I literally couldn't take my eyes off the screen). It's really pointless to describe the plot because this movie is so much more then any summary could say. This film has so many stylistic, tonal and narrative changes that it seems absolutely mad for the first half hour. It's easily the most unique and worthy cinema experience in the last year, its feels very current. I could go on and on about the things I loved about this film but there's nothing right now that I would recommend seeing more to a person of any age, sex or taste in cinema. It's everything I could ask for in a film:funny, touching, thrilling, surreal, beautiful...
This is the first time I have felt the need to post a review of a film,
but the experience that this movie provided was so unique and
profoundly moving that I feel compelled to post something of my
I have just finished watching Mr Nobody after knowing nothing about the movie beforehand (perhaps a good thing as I may have avoided it otherwise), but was simply astonished by the originality, cinematography, acting, script, soundtrack and profoundly thought provoking ideas.
I realise that this film will not be to everyones taste, certainly I think it will not be fully comprehended by the younger generation as it does require a certain lifetime of experiences to relate, such as birth, love, marriage, children, separation, divorce, death, life changing choices etc.., but nevertheless it does make you deeply consider your own past decisions and future choices, and everyone of all ages will have made and will make these decisions.
The production values are very high and would not look out of place in a 'hollywood blockbuster' but it is the mix of cinematography and music mingled with the dramatic scenarios that make it truly memorable.
It is a difficult film to describe as it does not follow a traditional narrative structure, but that is what makes it so unique and truly memorable. An experience that will hopefully stay with you long after you have seen it. It certainly made for a hugely memorable experience for me. Others may differ in opinion, but I don't think anyone can argue that it is not intelligent, fresh, original and thought provoking.
Well done to all involved in providing something original, intelligent and very entertaining.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mr Nobody, Nemo Nobody, is now 100 years old, the last mortal on earth
in 2092, and he is about to die. Questioned about his life on his death
bed by a journalist that sneaked in the hospital, he tells the stories
of his lives. Yes, lives, his three lives, his three destinies between
which he was unable to choose from. Three love stories, three very
different existences conditioned by apparently meaningless decisions.
Three paths, three wives, three families, three fates.
This genuinely mind blowing movie is an experience revolving around the notion of choice, the importance or futility of decisions, a complex story that questions randomness, and what our lives are made of. Illustrated by bribes of a science documentary enlightening us about concepts like time before and after the big bang, the extremely interesting superstition of the pigeon, the eventuality of the big crunch, the complexity of quantum mechanics and string theory. This is a journey into the human psyche and the ability to create and explore in our imagination all the possible moves, like a chess player, that would lead to different paths, different existences. Exceptionally imaginative, acutely funny and startling, this production reeks of intelligence and craftsmanship, breaks down linear storytelling into bits, only to shuffle the whole thing in a brilliantly orchestrated masterpiece. It reminded me of so many great experiences, from David Lynch movies to Jorge Luis Borges books, it's an exquisite bundle of intellect and emotion.
Choices, their meaning, why we choose this or that road through our lives, their consequences, whether we are aware of them of not. How many different lives could we be living ? Through the infinite possibilities facing each and every one of us, the good and the bad choices, every turn taken creates a new life, the most interesting of all is being alive. Chaos theory and butterfly effect to remind us how small we are in the randomness of the universe and yet so able to actively manifest the reality we desire. Nemo Nobody has to choose between leaving with his mother or stay with his father, the starting point of the exploration his available destinies. Unable to decide, he chooses both and takes us for a ride through an immensity of possible.
The filming is smooth and sequences linked in a flow of event that jumps back and forth through time, brilliantly edited with great attention for rhythm. The music score is so adequately put together that it adds to the already stunning staging efficiency of the directing by Jaco Van Dormael. I dare to say this is the very best movie of 2009 and will most likely go see it a second time next week, one can never get enough of these absolutely mind blowing experiences. Confusing and dazzling at the same time, it manages to spark the most interesting discussions about the meaning of life, in an attempt to pinpoint why we live it. Whatever you got planned for this week end, just drop it and go see that movie, you will not regret it.
There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite.
Jorge Luis Borges
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the most beautiful cinematographic masterpieces that I
have seen in recent years. The photography, music, cinematography,
cast, special effects and script creates a highly visually and
intellectually stimulating movie.
The film is very complex, between how the movie is fragmented and its time-line, you are left in a state of confusion. A confusion which expands over the length of the movie and much is left to your own interpretations of certain events.
You try to hang on to a fragment telling yourself that this is the right fragment, this is the right time lapse but before you know it, you are introduced to another sequence of fragments which at the time may not necessarily make a lot of a sense and may create more confusion. In time, you start to understand that each fragment becomes a life of its own, each fragment appears to be real, and so each fragment is potentially the correct fragment, there is no right or wrong answer, because there is no reality. Each fragment represents a choice, each choice represents a series of circumstances and each circumstance represent the possibilities which this person is subject to, in his life.
You are introduced to many ideas, and many possibilities, which in themselves are a small selection out of all the possibilities that life may give. The possibilities are the ones given by a 9 year old child, full of ideas, full of freedom, completely and entirely boundless. This creates an enticingly magical combination of possibilities. Boundless and so free in every concept.
This is a journey in our character's imaginative mind, seeing his future being dependant on this one immediate decision, leading to future decisions and potential circumstances that may arise in his future based on his first decision. But the movie also states: If you don't choose, then you don't limit yourself to that one decision therefore the possibilities are endless. The movie encompasses our lives, the life of anyone, and how that life is lead. The circumstances in which you live and how you deal with certain events is represented via our character's perception of the future and circumstances.
This is a very highly intellectual movie which is not only stunning, but also very interesting. Some points about the life and philosophical questions are raised, these points may be easily applied to your own life and so in turn give more of your meaning to the movie.
This movie will not appeal to everyone - because the concept is very complex and the content is very intellectual. Some people will not even understand a little bit of it because it requires the viewer to apply his or her mind to understanding how it all interlinks. This movie would appeal to the more intellectually able people, who enjoy complex films and using their minds to apply meaning to the film. It is not just an enjoyment movie like any blockbuster - it is a content-full movie which required careful analysis of events to comprehend its entire meaning. You do need to be in the right frame of mind in order to enjoy the movie.
You want a distraction? Go see a blockbuster... You want intellectual and visual stimulation? Go see Mr. Nobody!!
I have to say that it really is a pity that this film has not yet been set a release date in most countries in the world (including the UK) because this movie is truly incredible. I had to travel to Paris, France in order to catch a screening. Please see it in English (Original Language) - translation of films never conveys the meaning of films correctly, so imagine what it would do to this very intellectually demanding film?
Jaco Van Dormael's third & long awaited movie is a sensation. It is a real shame that this masterpiece didn't won lots of awards at different film festivals. How could they be so blind ? Mr. Nobody is a unique cocktail of drama, love story & science fiction. It's an odyssey about making choices and the effect it has upon our lives. The songs ( Buddy Holly ! Pixies ! Satie ! ) are well chosen and the acting ( Jared Leto ! Rhys Ifans ! ) is outstanding. Some might say that this is a difficult movie and a bit "arty farty"... I agree that you won't understand everything, that's for sure, but what the heck, just sit back and enjoy the ride ! This breathtaking tale of imagination leaves you astonished in your seat. Not to be missed !
How to review this film without giving too much away? Throughout the
film, I was constantly surprised and amazed. I think my mouth was
hanging slightly open a few times from the brilliance on display. I was
totally captivated from start to finish. Taken simply, it's a
philosophical sci-fi film, but it's so much more than that. It's about
choices, destinies, astrophysics, dreams and memories, just to name a
few themes. Taken at its simplest, it's the jumbled recollections of
the last mortal man, 118 years old, on Earth in 2092. The problem is
that his memories are in total disorder and contradictory. In practice,
it means that this is a very non-linear experience in terms of time and
space, real and imaginary, showing you results of important choices
either way. It doesn't focus on just 2 alternate lives either, things
constantly branch out. You would think the film would be a mess, but
it's surprisingly cohesive, gripping and even quite touching. I'm sure
some will find it confusing, but that's part of the point: Mr. Nobody's
memories seem confused and appearances might be deceiving.
I found it extremely romantic despite the fact there are 3 very different love interests. One might say that sometimes the dialogue in romantic parts was corny, but I think that the most beautiful declarations of love can be the simplest as long as they are sincere. They felt that way here. The acting was top-notch all over the board with no weak performance in sight. Mr. Nobody's makeup and voice as an old man were perhaps a little distracting but nothing major. It's not a special effects extravaganza, but what was seen was quite imaginative and beautiful to behold. I think the contrast with the more mundane stuff going on makes them even more impressive. Visually, it has an incredible number of different angles and viewpoints all extremely well shot. What's amazing is that the (often) brilliant transitions flow so well from one to another without being jarring.
There are so many story threads (most fascinating), so many changes of tones (whimsical to tragic) and so much range (from intimate to grandiose). I think people who like to analyze films would have a field day with this one although it's possible they would nitpick on the borrowed elements. There's also lots of food for thought and should provoke very interesting discussions afterwards especially on what might have happened if choices in your life had been different. Contrary to most films where I tend to think of what I will write in my review as the film is going on, it did not really happen here. I was totally absorbed and that's rare. The choice of songs and musics, mostly known, was excellent and added a lot especially in romantic parts. I'm even considering buying the soundtrack. Mr. Nobody is a challenging but very rewarding film to watch . I don't think it's for everyone, mostly because of its non-linear structure, but those who appreciate unconventional films like Brazil, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Vanilla Sky or Big Fish should be quite pleased. I loved Mr. Nobody and it has become one of my new favorite films. To be quite honest, I wish I could see it again right now... Very highly recommended particularly with someone special.
Rating : 9.5 out of 10 (not full 10 because ending could have been better)
I saw Mr Nobody last night in a jam-packed theatre. I guess that the
main reason for this is that I am in Belgium and the writer/director is
Belgian. The response of the audience was amazing. I was in Flanders
and so the film wasn't dubbed.
The film is magical and surreal. And yet it makes sense. Not many have achieved this, but Jaco Van Dormael seems to have done it with ease. It did take him 13 years however. If you liked Toto Le Héro, you should love this film too. Switching between the UK and Canada works brilliantly and Jared Leto, Toby Regbo and Juno Temple steal the show. Ifans and Little are also fantastic. Diane Kruger's strong German accent is unfortunate as the film needs no unintentional surrealism added to it. I think her role needed a stronger actress (she looks very beautiful though).
In all I recommend everyone to go and see it. The only reason the film gets an 8 (and not a higher score) is because towards the end it seemed to go on a bit. I will go and see it again however. The story really draws you in and I need to go back to search for some answers. I also want to see it again because it is so beautifully filmed. Van Dormael is an artist.
I enjoyed this film as much, if not more, than a David Lynch. And that truly is a compliment.
This is the kind of film you don't see too often. It is truly a visual
masterpiece. I haven't heard about this french director, but "Mr
Nobody" really blew my mind in all its images, dreams, romance and
complexity. The movie has similarities to films by Michel Gondry but i
think this film was more magical. Dreamlike and existential films. Some
might think Mr Nobody is too complex, too demanding. It is not for
everyone, but I loved it. Like other surreal movies, Peter Jacksons
"The Lovely Bones", and "Synechdohe: New York" "Dr. Parnassus",
"Micmacs"- these dreamlike and "difficult" films must be terribly
expensive to produce and I ask myself how can the companies go through
with these productions? These flicks never generate big box office
money. Im amazed that they still make this kinds of demanding visual
movies for cinema. And glad.
I discovered the greatness of Jared Leto as an actor when he played John Lennons Killer in Chapter 23. That was a truly disturbing and amazing acting of a disturbed fanatic loner. Mr Nobody is however the role of his life! If you like this kinds of movies I recommend "Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind", "Synechdohe: New York" and "THE FOUNTAIN". They really make you think!
Jaco's recipe for the perfect cinematic cocktail:
1. (3 cl) of strong performances (make sure to bring characters to life);
2. (4 cl) of great filming (perfectly capture the performances and scenery);
3. (a couple slices) of timely classic soundtrack (to further enhance the visual experience);
4. (3 teaspoons) of philosophical teasing (favourite flavours: Immortality, Death, Love, Choices, Consequences, Time does it even matter?);
5. (a few cubes) of story telling (best told by peculiar narrators);
and as a tasty finishing touch,
6. a (zest) of humour (preferably irony).
van Dormael produces this wonderful cocktail with such dexterity that one is left both satisfied and wanting more!
As with any good cocktail, this one should appeal to many and allow for repeated consumption (viewing) due to the wide range of qualities that can be appreciated, be they cinematical or simply philosophical.
I might be missing one or two ingredients, but before I give away any more and spoil your drink, if you haven't seen Mr. Nobody yet, go see it with Anybody and make sure to talk about it with Everybody, or at least with Somebody.
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