Nobody Walks (2012)

11 02 2013

I’ve tried to stay on the optimistic side of things with Lena Dunham, while obviously acknowledging her inherent flaws as a writer, there’s something that makes both her debut feature, Tiny Furniture and her television show, Girls, very easy to watch even as the actual works might not be all that profound. At the risk of using a film critic cliche, her work is very watchable, but this is not the case for this film, for which she penned the script. I’ll give her credit for trying something serious but her script’s biggest problem might be that characters, none of which are terribly interesting, are all fueled by desires to have sex with people they shouldn’t. It sounds sexy, I guess, but it’s ultimately just a boring film.


Martine comes from New York to Los Angeles to collaborate with Peter on her film. He’s a sound designer and with a huge house at his disposal, finishing the product doesn’t seem to be a problem. The two share an attraction, which is a problem because Peter is happily married to Julie and is busy raising two children, one of which, Kolt, is from Julie’s previous marriage. Kolt is also full of desire, her romantic longings are directed towards David, Peter’s assistant who has an interest in Martine as well.


Here’s a confession: I felt like a complete idiot typing up that plot synopsis. Such a ridiculous outline should make for embarrassingly bad movie, but give Ry Russo-Young some credit, it all unfolds somewhat naturally. It helps that Olivia Thirlby seems to ground such sensational content, giving a performance that is probably too good for something so sleazy. The film never feels like it’s fueled entirely by sex, at least not representing sex, but the problem comes from the fact that every character seems to throw good judgement out the window in order to fulfill a carnal desire. Strike that, only Martine and Peter do that, and while Thirlby’s performance eases the melodramatic burden of the story, John Krasinski’s performance seems to do the exact opposite.


Here’s another example of me wanting to give some part of this film some credit: Krasinski at least tries, but that’s sort of his fault. It’s a little bit harder to show the surface of a crumbling marriage when you’ve been conditioned to make witty comebacks and smirk at a camera for half of your career. There’s a scene towards the end where he has a break down, and the manifestation of his anger is him throwing a bike into his oversized pool. This is nothing but comical, and this is clearly not the intention. He’s left out to dry with such a useless and unlikable character, and he’s not nearly talented enough to salvage some sympathy from him.


The film does benefit from a few stylistic flourishes, mostly the ones used to represent the sound design work Martine does for her film. The film looks nice enough, especially considering almost all of the action is limited to an expensive Hollywood house. This comes back to the film’s biggest problem: who the hell cares about such people? Maybe I’m to blame for watching one too many “social realism” films from Japan, but the film gives us only a short glimpse into these characters’ lives and when we leave them, it feels like a relief. It takes less than an hour for the “overwhelming” sexual tension between Martine and Peter to break and for the two to fuck. Clearly, Peter  got over the mental anguish of cheating on his wife with some ease. If that’s the case, why should one bother to care when everything is a mess for him at the film’s end? They shouldn’t.