[Retrospective]Mr. Nobody — Everything is possible until a choice is made.

I did not see this movie before and did not hear anything about it. Today this omission has remedied. I watched a movie trailer before watching a full film. My first impression was that Mr. Nobody is some vanilla drama for housewives. Fortunately, that impression was false.

The film is amazing. But it is not made for everyone to enjoy. It is for cinephiles like me. This movie has a long duration, slow pace, and nonlinear narrative. It is easy to lose track of multiple storylines or get bored if you are not in the right mood for this kind of film. Mr. Nobody has some level of resemblance with movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Butterfly Effect, but it is unique in its own way.

The film tells the story about the centenarian man called Nemo. He is giving an interview on his 118th birthday to a journalist in hospital in the year 2092. As Nemo shares his life story — the 90% of the movie duration consists of flashbacks. A journalist can not understand what is true and what is an imagination of a crazy old man. Same applies to the audience. Most of the moments in the life of the old man are related to each other and simultaneously contradict each other. The viewer is to unravel the tangle of relations between the plot lines. In the beginning it looks complicated and there is a sense that the whole picture can be missed or misunderstood, but eventually all elements of story puzzle connect into one piece.

The film invites viewers to think about every action and every choice eventually leads to reaction and consequence, so-called butterfly effect. Meanwhile, the director of the movie Jaco Van Dormael tries to convince the audience that sometimes not making a choice or not making a move is the right move. He refers to a zugzwang — a situation in a chess game when any possible move will worsen the position of the player. Personally, I find this idea questionable and not applicable to life, but at least it provides food for thought. I’d rather make a wrong choice and regret it later than not making any choice and regret it even more.

Aside from the unexpectedly good script, I would like to mention outstanding camera work, frame composition, and visuals in overall. Pretty much every scene of the film is a topic for a separate essay with an analysis of the montage details and explanation on the topic of what and why exactly like this the director wanted to show in that particular scene. The perfectly matched soundtrack complements the visual part in the best way possible.

P.S. Nemo is a Latin word meaning “nobody”.

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