Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: First Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron,' Brings Mass Destruction Along With Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Watch: First Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron,' Brings Mass Destruction Along With Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Watch: 'Star Wars' Prequels Recut Into 2 Hour 40 Minute 'Turn to the Darkside: Episode 3.1' Watch: 'Star Wars' Prequels Recut Into 2 Hour 40 Minute 'Turn to the Darkside: Episode 3.1' Edward Norton Says He Didn't Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More "Diversity" In His Film Roles Edward Norton Says He Didn't Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More "Diversity" In His Film Roles Oscar Buzz: Who Could Be Set For Nods In The Supporting Actress Race? Oscar Buzz: Who Could Be Set For Nods In The Supporting Actress Race? Juliette Binoche Says Her Performance In 'Godzilla' Made Quentin Tarantino Cry Juliette Binoche Says Her Performance In 'Godzilla' Made Quentin Tarantino Cry Listen To Chvrches "Get Away" From The Rescored Version Of Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive' Plus Check Out The Trailer Listen To Chvrches "Get Away" From The Rescored Version Of Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive' Plus Check Out The Trailer The Essentials: The 10 Best Michael Keaton Performances The Essentials: The 10 Best Michael Keaton Performances George Lucas Says Studios "Don't Have Any Imagination And Don't Have Any Talent" George Lucas Says Studios "Don't Have Any Imagination And Don't Have Any Talent" Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 7 ‘Friendless Child’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 7 ‘Friendless Child’ Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Baz Luhrmann's Chanel No. 5 Short Film "The One That I Want" Starring Gisele Bündchen Watch: Baz Luhrmann's Chanel No. 5 Short Film "The One That I Want" Starring Gisele Bündchen WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting Gone Girls And Gone Boys: 11 Films That Dissect Marriage Gone Girls And Gone Boys: 11 Films That Dissect Marriage Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Sundance Review: 'Nobody Walks' Is A Sensual, Emotionally Complex Film With Humor & Humanity

Photo of Cory Everett By Cory Everett | @modage January 26, 2012 at 8:30AM

Martine (Olivia Thirlby), a 23 year-old New York artist arrives in L.A. 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”), L.A. 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.
3
Nobody Walks - header

Martine (Olivia Thirlby), a 23 year-old New York artist arrives in L.A. 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”), L.A. 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.

Nobody Walks - 4

Though his marriage seems solid, Peter nevertheless is attracted to Martine, who may also be interested in Peter’s young assistant David (Rhys Wakefield). Thirlby has always been cute but with a black-dyed pixie cut and skin tight jeans is physically unrecognizable here. She’s young, she’s cool, she’s reckless and you can see why people around her are drawn to her. The sexual tension in the first third of the picture is nearly unbearable. Peter and Martine spend endless hours working together in close quarters recording sound for her film and things quickly become sensual and taut as a potential tryst would be disastrous for the family. But Peter and Martine aren’t the only ones with sexual chemistry. One of Julie’s patients (Justin Kirk) starts describing his fantasies that involve her during sessions and even Julie’s teenage daughter Kolt’s (India Ennenga) scenes with a much older Italian tutor have an uncomfortable tension present. In addition to the sexual fireworks, there are a few notable faceoffs that occur between members of the same sex. Julie recognizes herself in young Martine but starts to pull away when she senses something is up between her and her husband. DeWitt always knocks it out of the park no matter how small her role and here she is masterfully restrained.

Nobody Walks 2

Krasinski is so naturally likable that when Peter explodes in a pivotal scene late in the film, it’s discomforting to see his good natured persona turned dark. Not because Krasinski doesn’t sell the moment but because he sells it all too well. Peter’s outburst is so desperate and clueless, it’s a little painful to watch especially for anyone who’s been in a situation where their feelings weren’t reciprocated. Dylan McDermott shows up briefly as Julie’s rocker ex-husband and the contrast between McDermott’s “man’s man” and Krasinski’s “man boy” creates an interesting dynamic between the characters. And despite all the drama, the film is actually quite funny as well. Scenes transition from the dramatic to the comedic seamlessly and the sharp screenplay by director Russo-Young and co-writer Lena Dunham makes it look easy. 

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 article is related to: Sundance 2012 Reviews, Nobody Walks, John Krasinski, Ry Russo-Young, Olivia Thirlby, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates