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Just saw this movie today and was a little disappointed with it. The
acting is decent enough, the dialogue is not terrible (except for one
scene, which will be obvious), the characters were interesting. It was
all enough to make me engrossed in the film, but it doesn't seem to go
anywhere. I kept waiting for the sh** to hit the fan and it never did.
Sorry to say that the story seemed a little under-developed to me. The stakes never seemed high enough to make you really worried for any of the characters. And what was supposed to be the climax of the film is really just a tiny spurt of nothing.
I hope the writer continues to develop further, as she obviously has the ability to create unique and interesting characters, but she just needs to learn to do more with those characters. She certainly had the time to do so in this film, as the running time is short and there were definitely sub-plots that could've been cut out entirely (the Italian teacher for instance)
Given the screenplay was co-written by Lena Dunham, creator and
breakout star of HBO's "Girls", I was hoping this 2012 indie
relationship drama would resonate strongly like Lisa Cholodenko's
acclaimed Los Angeles-set films ("Laurel Canyon", "The Kids Are All
Right"), especially with such a smart cast of actors. However,
something feels amiss in director Ry Russo-Young's coolish approach to
a familiar story of adulterous deception and family dysfunction. The
pacing feels glacial, and the characters are just not that involving
emotionally. Perhaps that was the intention in showing the shallow
nature of the lifestyle being portrayed, but it rubs off on the film's
inertia leaving it feeling quite flat. The setting is LA's funky-chic
Silver Lake neighborhood where sound engineer Peter lives with his
psychotherapist wife Julie along with their young son and her teenaged
daughter from a previous marriage, Kolt. They epitomize the laid-back,
everything's-cool attitudes one associates with affluent Southern
Enter Martine, a New York acquaintance of Julie's college friend who happens to be an attractive 23-year-old experimental filmmaker. She has agreed to work as Peter's assistant in exchange for him helping out on her latest project, an arty video installation revolving around close- ups of ants. How Martine emotionally invades the family is the crux of the story, and to the credit of Russo-Young and Dunham, she never comes across as an unrepentant interloper like more commercially driven exploitative films have done in the past. It's just that the plot pretty much goes the way you would expect it would go from the outset, although the characters carry decidedly ambiguous natures that make some of the story turns feel more complex than they really need to be. For instance, the inevitable tryst between Martine and Peter lacks believable passion because it feels almost matter-of-fact. In hindsight, I feel like it should have been the driving force in pushing each character toward self-examination.
The cast is not really at fault here as the acting, for the most part, is sensitive and assured. Olivia Thirlby (the best friend in "Juno") provides the requisite gamine quality needed to make Martine credible as an object of obsession even if her character remains a cipher throughout. The always becalming Rosemarie DeWitt ("Rachel Getting Married") delivers a thoughtful balancing act between earth mother and jealous wife as Julie. John Krasinski has a bit harder time escaping his amiable good-guy image from "The Office" and "Away We Go", but he does provide some surprisingly heated moments as Peter that make you wonder if he could do a greater variety of roles on screen. As the constantly yearning Kolt, India Ennenga appears to be channeling early Claire Danes, but she makes the character's unrequited love palpable. In smaller parts, Justin Kirk as a horned-up Hollywood screenwriter and Julie's attentive patient and Dylan McDermott as her self-possessed ex- husband bring much needed alpha energy to the proceedings. A late meltdown scene with Kolt's smarmy Italian tutor (Emanuele Secci) feels very out of place. Lethargic viewing.
Nobody Walks (2012)
** (out of 4)
A New York film student named Martine (Olivia Thirlby) comes out West to finish her movie on insects and ends up living with a happy family. The father (John Krasinski) agrees to help Martine finish the film but soon he ends up falling for her, which sets off different emotions for his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt). NOBODY WALKS has some pretty good stuff in it but in the end it's just another independent movie that thinks it has a lot more to say than it actually does. If I had to pick one word for this film it would be "mildly." I say that because everything here could have mildly put in front of it. The story is mildly entertaining. The idea that everyone wants what they can't have is mildly interesting. The way the film gets its point across is mildly interesting. Everything in this movie manages to be mildly something but unfortunately it's just not clever enough or showing us anything that we haven't already seen and this is what keeps it from being much better. We've seen the perfect household fall apart with the site of a beautiful woman using her sexuality so that's not giving us anything new here. The way that it all happens is, you guessed it, mildly interesting because as a film buff I found it entertaining that the husband was helping the girl edit a film. The sex scene happens in a sound proof room. I'm not exactly sure if this student's film was supposed to mean something to the viewer but I took nothing away from it. The best thing going for the film are its performances with Thirlby once again really impressing me. She's certainly a very charming actress and the way she pushed the sexuality here was quite memorable and one hopes to see more of her going forward. Both Krasinski, DeWitt and Dylan McDermott are good in their parts as is India Ennenga who plays the daughter. NOBODY WALKS isn't going to appeal to too many people but I think fans of the indie scene might want to check it out even if it doesn't reach the levels one would have hoped for.
Martine (Olivia Thirlby) is a young artist making an art film about
insects. Peter (John Krasinski) is a sound engineer helping her out to
finish the film. She slowly draws the attention of Peter and creates
conflict with his wife Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt).
Krasinski is playing against his usual nice guy type. He is still playing a version of it but corrupting it. It's actually quite off-putting to see it. Thirlby is wonderfully charming as a girl who shy away from commitments. She's one of the more interesting young actresses around. She doesn't overplay the role. She neither the victim nor the aggressor. The daughter Kolt played by India Ennenga has an interesting role. All of it should add up to a very compelling movie. However it feels rather under written and empty. The characters act but without major consequences. The couple's marriage wasn't much to begin with, they didn't really fight for it, and it isn't much at the end. In the end, everybody walks.
You know when someone is telling you a story and you're kinda into it,
wondering when it's gonna get good, and then they just stop talking?
And you're just like "uhh, you're done?"
That is what this film is. Not gonna lie, I was above averagely interested in the plot, and was interested in the film mainly because I wanted to see one of my favorite actors try to play someone other than Jim Halpert. It may take John Krasinski a bit of work to be able to drop his "Jim" persona, of which I didn't see much in this film, so good job there.
I would like to commend the young actress who took on this film and turned it into something that wasn't a complete waste of time. I would never be interested in watching this film again, but I won't say it was an offense to the film world.
Overall, just skip it. You don't get any insight into life, you don't come away with anything, you don't really care about the characters, but if you have or had a life that was plagued with promiscuity, you might be able to relate, but also may be repulsed by some of the characters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Director Ry Russo-Young has mostly failed in this newer movie, "Nobody Walks", to give focus and aim to what looks to be a poor script. A good 15 min into this hipster-ish melodrama about a young attractive documentary film director (and slut) home-wrecking her friend's friends family, my wife had already turned-in to read. I stuck it out. There are a couple of semi-interesting soap-operatic scenes such as the later party scene and strange dinner sequence, but the characters and writing are out-of-touch and strangely too naive and emotionally inexperienced. I didn't understand how the couple could afford what looks to be a million dollar house in the LA area on what seemed to be low-level jobs. By the end of the movie nothing has been gained or learned, and you have little empathy for all the poor fools. Not Recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There were so many random, asinine and completely nonsensical plot
turns, characters and scenes that I don't know where to begin. I'm not
even sure what the story was, if there was a denouement, a resolution
or an ending. I'll try to summarize the movie really briefly.
So a random girl named Martine comes to LA and the movie opens with some dude she evidently met on the plane kissing her passionately and starting to unzip his pants right in the airport parking deck in the middle of day. From that, I assumed this would be a comedy. Anyways, she ends up at Jim from the Office's house I guess? At first, I thought this was some sort of home for certain people, or an orphanage of some sort. There's a bunch of random aged people living there and the script has you thinking that they aren't related but some little girl gets poems accepted somewhere while Jim from the Office works on a Hollywood project that they never really talk about. So I'm assuming it's some sort of commune for artsy types. Turns out this girl is making a black and white film of ants. Not about ants, just of ants. At one point, voice actors come in to voice the ants. Then they leave and Martine gets sassy. After that, there's never voices with the ants, just synthesizers and random noises.
There's a bunch of random, weird scenes. Jim from the Office is capturing sound of various things and he tells Martine to close her eyes and guess sounds. He points the microphone towards traffic, his hand rubbing on a wall, and Martine's breath and nothing really comes from the scene. Also Martine has a crush on Jim from the Office's assistant and says she doesn't want to kiss him, then does, then straddles him, then gets out of the car while the little poem girl is jealous but also is maybe being sexually assaulted by her Italian tutor. Why she's getting tutored Italian, we don't know other than she says she's taking the Italian SAT. Why she's taking the Italian SAT 2, no one knows. These scenes with the Italian tutor rapist aren't connected to any other part of the movie and none of the characters, barring Martine at the very end where she speaks in Spanish to him then tells him to leave, interact with him.
Also Martine and Jim from the Office have sex and one point, but Jim is evidently married to a redhead and has the poem girl, but she's not his biological dad. The real biological dad is in the movie for all of one scene where he just disses everyone and is supposed to come across as this cool guy I guess? But evidently, Jim from the Office's wife, thinks he's a loser but also the cool guy boyfriend. She also talks smack about him to his own daughter, and although it's her daughter too, it's still kind of messed up.
Also Jim from the Office totally goes after Martine and starts awkwardly dancing with her at a Weed Party with his kids and wife there and he's not exactly hiding it. The poem girl is in 2 scenes with some glasses kid who we never really know who he is. But he asks for the Science section of a newspaper, then goes with poem girl into a private area and kind of reaches up her dress just a little bit, and then they kiss while she's drinking wine.
Anyways, the wife is mad but also almost has an affair with one of her patients. She's a psychiatrist, and her patient is a Hollywood screenwriter. But it doesn't really matter what he wrote, I guess. They are also in a separate gazebo at the same party and he kisses her neck a bit, then she puts her arms up like she's on the cross, but then they just stop and she walks off.
They also have a young son, but he doesn't do anything except ask to swim with Martine late one night when she's in Jim from the Office's pool. She takes him back to his room and notices his glow-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling. She says those are cool, but she had birds and bees. Which just makes the scene, with this 6 year old kid, totally creepy.
Anyways, it ends with the wife telling Jim to send Martine home. But it turns out Martine was already going home anyways so nothing really happens and Jim makes grilled cheese. The end.
This film gets at some difficult truths. Anyone interested in miscommunication between the sexes, gender dynamics, gender studies, roots of desire, roots of violence...anyone that knows what it is like to be a young woman...I think the list goes on; there are many audiences that could get something out of this film. Plus, it is well written, well acted, and well directed - there were several scenes that caught my attention in artistic, creative, and subtle ways. I realize this review may not be balanced - that's a whole lot of praise, but, truly, there is something about this film that is not only well presented, but profoundly important.
Maybe I just got my expectations down to that special level of low, I
find Lena Dunham stuff to be horrible, tiny furniture was just one of
the stupidest things I have ever seen. So I think seeing her name
attached to this helped me enjoy it because I thought okay this will be
bad, and when it turned out to be good I was happy.
What makes this movie entertaining is you can watch any of the actors involved on their own, they could have made any of the characters the lead or the main focus and you would have been into it. I actually thought the length was a huge negative, ended maybe a good 15 minutes too early, from opening to credits it was a mere 78 minutes long although it might claim to be longer.
There isn't much of a plot, an artist moves in with a family she stirs things up, I won't give away too much but she's an attractive woman around men who like attractive women so its not that difficult to figure out. The movie does a good job of just sort of moving along without being about anything. One of the weak links was this sub plot with an Italian teacher, I could have done without that it was a little odd.
The young lead actresses India Ennenga who plays the sixteen year old step daughter to Krasinski, and of course the artist woman Olivia Thirlby held it all together and kept it interesting even when it dragged along. I don't know why this movie made so little money, it was decent, maybe it didn't get a big release. I just found it via netflix as I am sure most other people found it that way too.
I would say watch this with no expectations, and if you like movies with lots of action and dramatic arcs then just skip this one, this is more of an experience film.
Anyone who really doesn't like LA would be foolish to watch this, but on the other hand, those of us who do like LA could do worse. I think it's not as bad as some people think it is. Yes, the characters are neurotic and horny navel-gazers. There are a lot of attempts to have sex in this. Some viewers might have a problem with an intergenerational pot-party scene. I don't think I've seen one of those before. The photography is pretty good and the acting too is not bad. Some have compared this film to Laurel Canyon which stars Frances McDormand and Christian Bale and is better. But it is a similar look at kind of a rarefied milieu wherein people can be annoying. But that's not really news, is it? I actually think a good rule of thumb is, if you start watching a movie and find you really don't like it, it's OK to stop. I'm just saying don't avoid things for the wrong reasons. Nobody Walks is 81 minutes and almost good.
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