Review: Nobody Walks
Nobody Walks, directed by Ry Russo-Young and co-written by Lena Dunham, offers a glimpse into the life of that cool girl in high school you couldn’t help resenting even though she was always really nice and probably miserable too.
Martine (Olivia Thirlby), 23, flies from New York to L.A. to collaborate with Pete (the undislikeable John Krasinski), the second husband of a friend of a friend, on the sound design for her art film: bugs in black and white accompanied by crunchy sound effects and moody synth. “It’s basically, um, human versus nature, and, uh, the personal vs. the sort of…intricate complexities of community,” Pete dribbles in exegesis. When Martine moves into Pete’s pool house, an elaborate sexagon (you know, a love triangle, only with more sides) ensues: Pete’s stepdaughter Kolt (Treme’s India Ennenga), the 16-year-old poetess, pines after Pete’s assistant David (Rhys Wakefield) who has the hots for Martine who’s sleeping with Pete who’s married to Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt), a therapist who’s flirting with her screenwriter patient (an insatiable Justin Kirk). Oh, and squeaky, stuttering schoolchum Avi (Sam Lerner—think, Michael Cera circa 2004) and Italian tutor (Emanuele Secci) are both crushing on Kolt—who promises to grow up to be the next generation’s Martine. Yes, it sounds like a rollicking sex comedy, but it’s not funny. Like Dunham’s Girls, Nobody succeeds at capturing the worst of carnality in the 21st century.
Shot with Instagram graininess, Nobody Walks is crammed with overdetermined signifiers for Our Times—ultra-skinny jeans, chambray button-downs, a Prius, and an all-star indie cast. The movie might be parodic (remember, these are the kind of people who name their children “Dusty” and “Kolt”), were it not so sincere. “Marriage is complicated,” says Pete with hopeless redundancy.
Sure, the sexual tension is catchy—nothing’s as provocative as sitting together at an audio mixer in a sound-proof room—but Nobody Walks leaves you with the hollow feeling of a world that’s supposed to be our own, but is impossibly distant and emotionally detached.