Nobody Walks Review

The opening scene of Ry Russo-Young’s Nobody Walks sees two people walking through an airport car park.

Bang goes that title then.

The couple in question, an Aryan hunk and striking looking girl with a boy’s haircut, aren’t actually a couple at all; though we’re certainly lead to believe that they are.

In fact, they only met on their flight to Hell A. And while the guy has a certain kind of ride in mind for his new friend, all Martine wants is a lift to her new place of work.

It seems Martine is an artist of some sort, though the filmmaker’s decline to explain just what kind of art she does, and is making a short film to accompany her impending New York exhibition.

A sound engineer friend of her family’s, Peter, generously offers to lend an ear to Martine project. As she arrives at her Los Angeles new home, Martine can’t possibly foresee the impact she will wreak upon all of its inhabitants in the short time she’s there.

Directed by Russo-Young, who also co wrote the script with girl writer du jour Lena Dunham, Nobody Walks is that staple indie flick where nothing much really happens, yet the drama of its characters everyday lives are more than enough to keep you enthralled.

I’m always keen on championing female writers and directors in the overloaded male medium of film, for no other reason then how tiresome I find the male fantasy’s habitually played out in practically every film written and or directed by them.

In the spirit of equal opportunities, it’s both enlightening and depressing to see how girls are catching up with the boys in every conceivable way.

For while I enjoyed Nobody Walks, in fact I’d go as far as to say it was the best film I saw at Sundance London, the message seems to be as predictable as any two dimensional male fantasy brought to life by cinema.

So Martine is the spark that changes everyone she comes into contact with, which usually results in whatever men of whatever age trying to kiss her.

Apparently, there’s something about Martine. Seeing as the luminous Olivia Thirlby plays the lead here, I can understand that.

What’s never properly explored is why Martine habitually indulges in self destructive behaviour with unavailable men, nor why men who have so much to risk are drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

My biggest complaint about male dominated cinema is how pretty much every female character’s purpose is to further the male lead’s journey. Worse than that, these roles routinely lack any real conviction, depth or insight into the female state of mind and never come close to portraying a genuinely believable human being.

Which is exactly how I feel about all the male characters in Nobody Walks.

None of them feel real, because they’re not. Instead they’re two dimensional stereotypes at best that only serve to further Martine’s journey.

While it’s still refreshing to have the boot on the other foot for once, I was honestly hoping for a little bit more from the rise of girl power in american cinema; for no other reason then women are better than men.

Something I accepted a long time ago.

That and, having had to put up with male centric nonsense in film for an age, they really should know better.

A collection of fine actors make up the strong ensemble cast, most notably An American Office’s John Krasinski as sound engineer Peter, whilst the cinematography and detailed sound effects are oft stunning.

But, having set up the premise, what I really wanted to learn more of is why Martine feels so comfortable playing the role of the other women.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out why so many men cheat on their partners, but this desire to be someone’s mistress that women, and young women in particular, seem happy to fulfil is something I’ve never understood.

Maddeningly, Nobody Walks seems to glorify this behaviour rather than explore why; an impression Russo-Young indirectly confirms during her post film q and a session.

Still, this is equality right?

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

May 2012