“Mr. Nobody” is a complete mindbender that will have you thinking for days after you finish watching. On the surface, this is a simple story of an old man reflecting on his life. But deep down, it is a fascinating examination of how the effects of a single decision can radically change one’s life. I love films that explore the effects of a decision through the many-worlds interpretation style and this one is on a higher level than the rest. Movies like “Atonement” and “Back to the Future” use one event to show two possible futures. “The Butterfly Effect” follows one timeline and shows how the choices of the different characters alter the timeline. But “Mr. Nobody” follows an ever-growing number of possible futures that continually branch off of each timeline with each decision that the character makes and presents the different storylines in a nonlinear narrative style so that we see approximately 9 different versions of Nemo’s life at once. Additionally, the story begins at the end of Nemo’s life so that we do not know which version of his life is the truth. Many actors have impressed us by playing multiple characters in one film, but Jared Leto breaks convention by playing several versions of the same character and interpreting each with different characteristics. I spent a lot of the film wondering if he played the 118-year-old version of Nemo because the voice is so different. The script is pretty clever, purposely confusing us but giving us enough explanation to follow along until the truth is revealed at the end. I don’t know how anybody even conceptualized this story, and Jaco van Dormael must be a genius for being able to keep track of these alternate universes and blend one into the next. “Mr. Nobody” is not for those who are easily confused… but if you are willing to watch it twice or do some research during the final credits to fully digest its content, this is the sort of film that can change the way that you look at the world.
[Pictured: One decision can change a lifetime]