Mr. Nobody (2009)

120.

★★★

Directed by: Jaco Van Dormael
Written by: Jaco Van Dormael
Starring: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley and Diane Kruger

Watching Jaco Van Dormael’s Mr. Nobody is like trying to piece together one of those impossible jigsaw puzzles with 5000+ pieces. The image on the box looks simple enough, but when it comes to actually putting it all together, sitting back and trying to take in the whole picture, it is a frustrating and rather long exercise in patience and concentration. Scattered with the multiple, possible lives of one Nemo Nobody (Leto), Mr. Nobody attempts to cover far too many themes and ideas that are of universe-sized proportions.

Waking Life

It all begins when a nine year old boy is caught in making a very big decision in his life. As his separated parents force him to choose who he would rather spend the rest of his life with, Nemo projects future visions of how his life could pan out – three possible wives, different children, jobs, levels of happiness, trips to Mars… and it goes on. Jaco Van Dormael, however, doesn’t let us navigate this temporal manipulation easily. Put simply: Mr. Nobody is no Sliding Doors.

Two options lead to many streams of realities and illusions – both being completely indistinguishable. In offering so many divergent stories, however, Mr. Nobody lacks the focus to seriously examine some interesting ideas including choice, chance, time, love, and mortality. Nevertheless, Jared Leto’s performance seems to navigate the messy twists and turns just fine, and several moments of visual magnificence can catch us off guard and make the film feel profound and worth watching.

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