Belgian writer/director Jaco Van Dormael (The Eighth Day; Toto the Hero) gives us a mesmerizing visual and philosophical experience in this 2009 sci-fi/fantasy Mr. Nobody starring Jared Leto.
Interweaving different timelines and subplots, the story follows a 117-year-old man, Nemo Nobody (Leto), who is on his deathbed in a futuristic world where he is the last “mortal” human on Earth. Recalling his life story, he looks back on several events that impacted his future, especially one crucial decision that would have a major influence on the outcome of his life. As his parents separate, a nine-year-old Nemo stands on a train station and must decide whether he wants to go with his mother (Natasha Little) and live in America, or stay with his father (Rhys Ifans) in England.
Whether it is his advanced age or the side effects of illness, Nemo’s memories become confused, so he cannot remember exactly what his choices were, and he advances memories that follow several outcomes. There’s his marriage to the pretty but emotionally troubled Elise (Sarah Polley) and a marriage to the affable yet insecure Jeanne (Linh-Dan Pham). There’s also a passionate relationship with a girl named Anna (Diane Kruger) who seems forever just out of his reach.
Mr. Nobody as a philosophical discussion of the meaning of life, love, and time and is an interesting essay, visually and emotionally despite its sense of emotional detachment at times. What propels it forward at all times is the brilliant way in which Jaco Van Dormael is able to juggle what could have been a convoluted number of plot lines and combine them into a cohesive story in which we actually care about each of these alternate realities. Jared Leto is also to be commended for easily sliding into each of these different scenarios as well as alternating between an English and American accent with ease.
Mr. Nobody is an anamorphic production filmed on Super 35 format 35mm Fuji Eterna 500T 8573 and Eterna 400T 8583 film stock. It arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Magnolia Home Entertainment. While there is a good amount of detail in the image, the contrast could be better, with the image tending to look a little pale and flat most of the time, with no really deep blacks here. It also never obtains a very crisp appearance and tends towards a diffuse look, partly due to artistic choices.
We get an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) that is only a little disappointing given the grandeur of the imagery. One would expect a mix that is just a little more aggressive, but instead the sound here leans towards the reserved. That said, it is nicely atmospheric and does convincingly enclose us in a 360-degree field with clean dialogue.
There’s a disappointing dearth of worthwhile extras included here. It would have been nice to hear an audio commentary or even see an extended Making Of.
- Extended Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut
- The Making of Mr. Nobody (1.78:1; SD; 00:45:08)
- Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; SD; 00:06:51)
- AXS TV: A Look at Mr. Nobody (2.35:1; SD; 00:03:25)
- Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24; Dolby Digital 5.1; 00:02:06)
- Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment
The Definitive Word
Mr. Nobody is a powerful statement of a film along the lines of The Tree of Life and others that forces us to ponder the little and big things that have made us who or what we are. Visually gorgeous and intelligent filmmaking at its best.
Additional Screen Captures