Mwy Rating: 10/10
Synopsis: A fantasy story about Mr. Nobody, a boy, a middle-aged man, and the oldest living mortal making, living, and assessing the decisions that shape/d his life.
Probably one of the most fascinating sci-fi films of the 21st century. For me it stands just as captivating as 2004’s Primer and just like Primer, Mr. Nobody deserves multiple viewings in order to have a minimum grasp on it.
The intricacies itself warrants the film nothing short of admiration at the very least. Even astounding are the compounding philosophies one atop of another and injecting them into the rich stories of Nemo Nobody realized with carefully constructed thematic surroundings per timeline. I cannot truly understand the greatness of this movie so I surrendered to Wikipedia the moment it ended. I agree with most of the raised primary discernible things but I suspect there is more.
The film opens with ‘the pigeon superstition’. And into the movie more theories are explored such as: the chaos theory, the butterfly effect, and ‘the big crunch’. All these swim into the circulation along with the central theme which is the intertwined subject of ‘choices and possibilities’. A nine year old boy has to choose. His choice comes with an impossible slew of ramifications, all the while the movie dives into these almost limitless possibilities aka lives of Nemo in a seemingly haphazard fashion. Any simple or complex choice he has to make can affect or possibly dictate the rest of the course of his life. We, as viewers were given another choice just like what Nemo faced at the start…”what if I don’t choose?” As long as you don’t choose, everything remains possible, or so one may think but truly is not the case, because in not choosing, one is already choosing. To abstain does not mean no ramification. Of course the dilemma of Nemo about choices and possibilities is further complicated by the fact that he could see the future (or so we are to believe that Nemo believes this but not necessarily mean that it is true). This was explained by the 118 year old Nemo to the reporter. He said they are only inside the mind of a 9 year old having an incredible time deciding at the crossroads of his fate. The 9 year old cannot make a decision because he doesn’t know what the future will hold for either of the choices, and when he had channeled the ‘futures’ (as what we saw in the entire run of the movie), he still cannot decide knowing the possibilities of each choice that he will make along the way. So he instead chose something else, something else that I don’t know if he had channeled it or just lived his life for all we know – the third choice that was presented at the very end. That decision, clearly, was the one he was hoping for, that’s why he’s all smiles at the end, his adolescent, mature, and old self, all are very happy with that decision. In a way it contradicts one of its main assumptions, that is it doesn’t matter what we choose because each choice, when made, is just as important as the other alternate ‘could have been’ choice. Maybe the argument is all timelines are or equal importance but every one is different from the other. So there are timelines that are better and there are timelines that are not so much and for that last timeline that was displayed, it was the best he could have hoped for. I’m just realizing this now while writing this, wow! Genius! I salute you Jaco Van Dormael. I think there’s still so much that must be talked about in this film. It’s just so full of substance.
There’s also this great chunk of piece from Wiki about the interpretation of colors used in the film. I have observed the use of colors and it’s true, it really could have an underlying meaning because of the difference of color tones between the lives he had with his three possible wives. Jeanne’s had a yellow tone which according to what I’ve read means life and wealth, Elise’s was blue which entailed depression and despair, and Anna’a was red the color of passion and love. This was most evident on the bench scene where the three girls wore bright colors of yellow, blue, and red corresponding to their symbolic meanings. The use of white however cannot be missed at the beginning when Nemo was still untouched by the angel of oblivion. White contains all the color from the color spectrum and so thus may mean that at that point Nemo’s life has full of possibilities and the diffraction seen from the three colors yellow, blue, and red, means one color is one door to one string of possibilities. Nemo as a 118 year old man is also enveloped in a surrounding which is evidently painted in dominant white. One way to interpret it is the big crunch is about to happen thus propelling the time to go backwards, to a time where there are full of possibilities.
I still can’t interpret the circle Nemo drew using white chalk. Is that scene implying he believes Anna can still come? So he willed it by encircling a portion from that seaside road using white chalk meaning inside the circle there are full of possibilities and if he just wait long enough, he can find Anna there? I don’t know…I’m tip-toeing here I’m not sure of what I’m saying but that’s one way of interpreting it for me. Also the argyle patterns on the timeline where Nemo got inside an abandoned house. I cannot make sense of it, why we are to be bombarded with those patterns. One thing about argyle pattern is that they are overlapping and it has a sense of three-dimensional quality in it, so I guess it will not be far-fetched if I’m going to interpret it as compounding the overall theme of the movie – possibilities on top of possibilities – limitless possibilities perhaps?
Another thing, ‘Nemo’ as mentioned in what I have read is latin for “Nobody”. I think the name is pertaining to the capacity of the nine year old to channel the future and that Nemo 118 year old is no one, as he was saying repeatedly to the reporter that he himself doesn’t exist as well as the reporter. On the other hand, the name might also be an allegory stating all of it were futures, all of it even the nine year old boy making the hard decision of his life. The name could be strongly suggesting that time is not one dimensional, all are possible thus Nemo is nobody, we can’t define him.
So much for discussing content, I haven’t said anything about the technical aspect. Jared Leto is the man. The guy’s flawless. He’s got a strong supporting cast too. Jaco Van Dormael pooled in all his game and it paid off. Writing is superb. Pacing just right. Cinematography couldn’t be more awesome. Soundtrack was a bit repititive but still spot on. No I can’t think right now of a flaw. It all came together.
I just want to discuss this more and more, comments please if you have watched it, let’s discuss!
Highly Highly Recommended!
Runtime: 2hrs 21min (IMDb)