Martine (Olivia Thirlby), a 23-year-old New York artist arrives in LA to complete a short film for an upcoming exhibit. We see her embracing a lover in the airport parking lot and just before things get too carried away, she puts on the brakes and tells him that it was nice meeting him on the plane. This girl is going to be trouble. The opening credits roll as Martine makes her way from the airport, gazing out the window to take everything in as the city rushes by. With a synthy score by Brooklyn duo Fall On Your Sword (who also scored last year’s Sundance hit “Another Earth” as well as director Ry Russo-Young’s first film “You Won’t Miss Me”), LA seems really cool. Coming from the confined apartments and gray skies of NYC (in the winter anyway) the wide open spaces of the west coast start to look really attractive. Martine arrives at the beautiful Silverlake house of therapist Julie (Rosemary DeWitt) and sound designer Peter (John Krasinski) who, due to a loose family connection, have agreed to put her up while Peter can helps her complete her film. Julie has two kids from a previous marriage and Peter as portrayed by the always affable Krasinski, decked out in hoodies and sneakers, seems more like a cool older brother than a step-dad.
This is Russo-Young's third feature but her first opportunity working with an A-list cast. Though her previous efforts were exercises in ultra-low budget filmmaking, she makes a remarkably smooth transition here. Considering the filmmaker is barely 30 years old (and Dunham only 25), the film takes a surprisingly mature view of relationships. Dunham is a divisive figure in the indie film world, but not having seen her contentious debut, “Tiny Furntiture,” this writer is having a hard time finding an issue with her work here. It would have been easy (and foolish) to tell the story from Martine’s point of view, instead we get an equal view of each of the compelling characters. Consequences are created from acting on impulse but there are no villains here or sitcom resolutions. You may find yourself siding more to one character one minute and embarassed for them the next. Because they live in a beautiful house and are fairly well to do, the film has been simplistically referred to by some as being about “white people problems.” The themes of jealousy and desire are not necessarily new territory to explore but Russo-Young still nails every little moment. Full of humor and humanity, “Nobody Walks” is an emotionally complex, acutely observed and sensual film and in this writer's opinion, one of the best at the festival. [B]
This is a reprint of our review from the Sundance Film Festival.