Opening: NOBODY WALKS Exposes Emotional Fault Lines With Flawless Balance
"One of the year's best American films," in the words of our own Christopher Bourne. opens tomorrow in limited release. Mr. Bourne saw Nobody Walks in connection with the BAMcinemaFest in New York earlier this year and wrote the following:
Director Ry Russo-Young (You Won't Miss Me) makes a major leap in complexity and penetrating character study with her third feature Nobody Walks, co-written with Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture, Girls), which tells its story from multiple perspectives, and features both beautiful photography and equally beautiful performances. This is my personal favorite out of all of the festival films I was able to preview. It observes and draws us into the intricate entanglements and crises of its many characters without imposing judgment on their often ill-advised and hurtful actions, a delicate balancing act that Russo-Young pulls off flawlessly.
Nobody Walks is built on a variation of the Teorema scenario, in which the arrival of an outsider upsets the balance of a family and exposes emotional fault lines that threaten to shatter relationships irreversibly. Martine (Olivia Thirlby) is an artist from New York who travels to Los Angeles to work on her installation art film, who stays with Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt), a friend of a friend, her husband Peter (John Krasinski), and their children, one of which is Julie's teenager's daughter Kolt (India Ennenga). Martine works closely with Peter, a film sound man, on the sound design of her film, and it isn't long before their working relationship crosses the line from a professional one to a sexual one. Peter's assistant David (Rhys Wakefield) is also interested in Martine, and he is also the object of Kolt's crush. Julie is a therapist who is continually and openly propositioned by Billy (Justin Kirk), a screenwriter and one of her patients.
All this drama plays itself out against the sun-drenched iconic backdrops of Los Angeles, filmed in richly textured Super-16 by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, so it is very much anchored in that particular environment. However, there is a distinctly European feel to Russo-Young and Dunham's approach to these characters and their situations, especially the knotted webs of romantic entanglements and hookups that occur, which reminded me of many French films. Combine this with beautifully rendered and nuanced performance across the board, especially from Thirlby, DeWitt, Krasinski, and a great turn by newcomer Ennenga, and you have one of the year's best American films.
Nobody Walks is currently available to watch via various Video On Demand platforms. It opens on Friday, October 19, in limited theatrical release in the U.S.