Sundance London 2012: “Nobody Walks” – Thirlby shines as unassuming seductress

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Nobody Walks

Written by Lena Dunham and Ry Russo-Young
Directed by Ry Russo-Young
USA, 2012

Tensions arise between the members of a liberal California family when creative aspiring filmmaker Martine (Juno‘s Olivia Thirlby) comes to stay, as father and husband Peter (The Office‘s John Krasinski) helps her finish her short film.

Nobody Walks presents itself as an arthouse film with its sun-kissed shots in Los Angeles and drawing focus on the different relationships of the characters.  Yet, given the quite relaxed manner with each other, their respective lives mainly revolve around work or school, allowing little room for an insight into their personalities.

There is a vibe similar to Sophia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides and reminiscent of British comedy Tamara Drewe – where the film portrays Martine as a siren of some sorts, seducing people with her East Coast charm, which in turn makes her look empty.  All the characters seem conflicted in their feelings – meaning that they are easily led astray – so it is also unclear if Martine’s influence on Peter (and subsequently his relationship with wife Julie, played by Rachel’s Getting Married Rosemarie DeWitt), his assistant David and stepdaughter Kolt is intentional or just a matter of perception.

Thirlby is engaging and charismatic on screen as Martine and she brings an unaware maturity to her character that doesn’t paint her as a typical seductress.  Krasinski is all smiles and Peter’s upbeat persona does remain with you until a misunderstanding brings his situation to a head.  He shares great chemistry with Thirlby as well as DeWitt, who is quietly confident in her role as Julie.  Her ability to keep everything together, despite her reservations, appears cool, calm and collected with a witty tone to boot.

Russo-Young’s script and direction is very simple and conventional – nothing too obscure – and is accompanied by a suitable synth-heavy soundtrack by Fall on Your Sword.  The subplots, involving Kolt and Julie’s inappropriate patient, are not as engaging without Martine’s presence but are played with the same subtlety and humanity that echoes throughout the film. Nobody Walks is definitely one of the more emotionally challenging yet sensual films in the festival.

Katie Wong

The 26th-29th April sees the Sundance London Film and Music festival hit the O2 Arena, which sees the festival – renowned for its programme of independent film – take place in the UK for the first time in its 34-year history.


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