Sometimes you stumble across a film that floors you. Not necessarily because it's the best around, but because it comes from out of nowhere. Nobody is the film equivalent of a sucker punch delivered right to your cerebral cortex. It is a stunningly well constructed, well acted, well shot, well lit, well written independent film out of Canada. You might as well stumble across a 24 karat diamond on the sidewalk.
The presentation of the film is the best I've seen out of independent cinema in a long time. At it's core, it's thoroughly film noir, complete with narration, but the way it's shot is thoroughly neo-noir, reminding me of a Coen Brothers film. And I don't drop that name idly. The cinematography in this film is utterly fantastic throughout, and extremely effective and evocative. The editing is tight and the score is simple, but makes excellent use of ambient sound. And speaking of sound, outside of a few shoddy boom mics, it's quality is uniformly excellent. After listening to a number of very low budget indie flicks, I've come to notice when they can't afford more than one mic at a time. It hurts the sound quality tremendously. But Nobody rarely has moments like this, and when it does, it's hard to tell if it's intentional or not. And either way, that's impressive!
You'll notice that I've gone on for two paragraphs without making a single mention of the story. The reason is simple: spoilers. There is very little I can say about the film's plot without giving away a reveal. Suffice to say, it is either the '30s or '40s, the protagonist is an assassin, and shit goes very badly for him one night. I can't go much deeper into it than that, I'm afraid. But what I can tell you is that the acting is excellent throughout. I never once felt as though the person on camera had a personal relationship with the director and that this was the only reason he was given a role, as in so many low budget first-time independent films. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the protagonist turns in a positively pitch perfect performance. The actor's name is Costas Mandylor, and with his barrel chest, square jaw, and a period-accurate haircut, he looks exactly like the man on the cover of so many pulp detective magazines of the era. His thoroughly hard-boiled narration evokes Phillip Marlowe more than Sam Spade, and it's clear his character is a very logical, methodical, occasionally even philosophical man. As things start going pear-shaped around him, he maintains his composure even in the face of forces he cannot begin to comprehend. It helps that his voice is deep and appropriately menacing, making the narration a pleasure to listen to, rather than a burden.
The other principal actor, Ed O'Ross, turns in a fine performance as mob boss Rolo Toles. He runs a significant gamut of emotions during his screentime, and always feels believable. He never really hams it up or chews on the scenery, even during a few scenes a lesser actor would have milked for all they were worth. He's clearly a professional, and performs like one.
It's also worth noting that there is only one woman in the film: the old Crone. Her role in the story is vague at best, and she rarely speaks. But her words are as portentous as any of the other dialogue, and they are clearly the key to something, though we know not what.
This is a strange film, to be sure. It's not for everyone. It is rather long, and slow, and a bit overly dramatic in it's writing at times. It's editing is effective and well-considered, but might be seen as heavy handed in it's symbolism. It has an alternately compelling and confounding plot that will either leave you simply satisfied, or completely dumbfounded. It takes it's time going places, and making reveals, and in ending itself. But it is thoroughly it's own. I can think of perhaps two other films even vaguely comparable, and neither was a first-time outing for a writer/director. It is extremely impressive, immaculately constructed (though to an end some might not care for) and surprisingly tense and almost unbelievably well-shot. It's aesthetic and it's presentation is some of the best I've seen for it's budget, and it is a fantastic example of neo-noir and existential horror. At times, it almost felt like it was made just for me.
Normally I'd say "watch this if you can." But considering how little information I found about this film on the web (it lacks even a Wikipedia page), this time I ask that you actively seek this film out and watch it. It is, at the very least, an experience. And filmmaking of this caliber deserves some recognition.