Mr. Nobody blew my mind. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Not sure, but no matter what I decide, there may be important – yet different -- consequences similar to, but not as serious as, what happens or doesn’t happen to our nine-year-old hero, Nemo Nobody. This creative romantic fantasy covers so many areas and periods of time that it’s hard to keep track of the various plot lines or lack thereof -- but it sure is fascinating to watch. And, just like Sliding Doors, the film really makes you think about “what if?”
When young Nemo’s (Thomas Byrne) mother and father separate, he must choose which one to stay with. The rest of the film follows Nemo as he takes three different life paths at the same time -- and finally becomes the world’s oldest mortal human in the year 2092. During his time with Anna (Juno Temple), his passionate stepsister, it’s clear these two are soul mates, no matter how much their parents try to discourage them. When adult Nemo (Jared Leto) marries Elise (Sarah Polley), who loves someone else, he tries to comfort and help her deal with severe mental problems. On his third path, Nemo becomes Jean’s (Lin-Dahn Pham) husband but pays very little attention to her.
Because the movie jumps around from one pathway to the other in a rather haphazard way, it appears quite chaotic most of the time. Still, the actors and actresses involved draw us into their performances by earning our sympathy and making us care about them. Standouts are Juno Temple (Killer Joe) and Toby Regbo (TV’s “Treasure Island”) as teenage Anna and Nemo. Their romantic chemistry sizzles on screen; they are a perfect modern-day Romeo and Juliet. But Sarah Polley (The Secret Life of Words) and Jared Leto (Lord of War) also excel. Polley actually frightens us during Elise’s emotional outburst scenes. Plus, Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds) looks stunning as the adult Anna, who tugs at our heartstrings more than once. And Leto works hard to tie everything together by endowing the lead character with sadness, sensitivity and resignation as needed.
Writer/director Jaco Van Dormael (The Eighth Day) allows camera tricks and provocative theories about time to come hurling at us fast and furiously here -- almost like a Terrence Malik film on speed. Too many scenes are repeated, so the movie runs much longer than it should. However, if you enjoy being perplexed by a motion picture, Mr. Nobody belongs on your must-see list.
(Released by Magnolia Pictures and rated “R” for some sexuality/nudity, brief strong language, and violent images.)
For more information about Mr. Nobody, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes web site.