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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » Nobody Walks
Nobody Walks
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // October 19, 2012
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted October 19, 2012 | E-mail the Author
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Nobody Walks originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, which comes to no surprise, as this film carries an atmosphere you'd expect from an indie at this festival. Fast forward 9 months, and the feature is finally receiving a limited theatrical release. While the picture has a capable cast that will be recognized, it doesn't manage to gets its viewers to actually care about the characters enough to be engaging. While the story isn't boring, there isn't anything here making it worth seeing on the big screen. Writers Lena Dunham and Ry Russo-Young have created an undeniably messy script. This isn't a bad movie, but it leaves its audiences with an overwhelming sense of mediocracy. This is one of those movies you might see once, but you probably won't want to revisit it.

Martine (Olivia Thirlby) is an artist from New York who arrives in Los Angeles to work on her art film. She stays with friends of a friend, Peter (John Krasinski), his wife, Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt), their teenage daughter, Kolt (India Ennenga), and her younger brother. Martine is charming and appears to fit in nicely. However, she soon causes the family to become unbalanced while Peter helps her with the sound design on her film. Martine gets to know each member of the family, but her relationship with Peter begins to develop into something far too personal.

From the opening scene, we're made fully aware what type of attitude Martine has towards men. While she's kind, she's not shy in the slightest around guys. She's walking to a car with a man so that she can be driven to Julie and Peter's house to meet them. She begins to get close with this man and they start kissing, which is when we find out that she just met him. This behavior around guys continues throughout the film. Even though she's an overall nice person, it's difficult to get behind a character who makes as many bad decisions as she does. However, this habit of bad decision-making holds true for Peter and Julie, as well. Nearly every character in Nobody Walks is an absolute screw up and makes outright stupid choices. You'll be able to predict the direction the film is moving in, but will be hoping that it changes its path, but it never does.

Writers Lena Dunham and Ry Russo-Young have created a disastrous screenplay. While I understand what they're trying to achieve with all of these incredibly flawed characters desiring what they can't have, it ultimately comes across as an endurance test for the family as well as audiences. How many destructive decisions can one person make before one destroys what's sacred? By the end of the film, it never feels like we got the opportunity to get to know these characters beyond their lack of self-control. This could have been the perfect chance to develop some interesting characters to drive the film. The closest viewers get to a genuine moment is when Martine and Julie are in the kitchen cutting up ingredients for dinner and they begin talking about their pasts and ambitions. It's disappointing that such themes aren't spread throughout the entire movie, as it could have become something special.

The most impressive thing about Nobody Walks is the solid acting. Olivia Thirlby does a good job as Martine. She delivers the character's charm very well. John Krasinski manages to improve the quality of the dialogue itself with his delivery and chemistry with both Rosemarie DeWitt and Olivia Thirlby. DeWitt is quite impressive as Julie. During her more personal scenes, she provides a genuine tone to numerous sequences. India Ennenga even manages to showcase her talent as Kolt. Her softer performance juxtaposes nicely with all the craziness that occurs within her family. This cast delivers a round of worthwhile performances, but they don't entirely make up for the screenplay's faults.

The entire film wraps around Martine moving into this family's house and eventually destructing their emotional structure, causing everything to collapse. Unfortunately, the screenplay provides the characters with an extremely small amount of development. The major plot points are primarily one dramatic event after the other. It's very difficult to gain sympathy for characters when they make such bad decisions. This feature relies a lot on these characters, yet we never get to know any of them. They all still feel like strangers by the end of the movie. Despite all of its problems, Nobody Walks still has its moments where the film comes across as a genuine indie feature. I don't recommend seeing this on the big screen, but it's worth a rental on a slow weekend for those who enjoy independent dramas.

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