Nobody Walks begins with a couple walking to their car from the airport. They are in love. They are giddy and happy. Their sexual tension reaches a breaking point, and they begin sucking each other’s faces. Things are about to escalate even further when the woman, Martine, puts a stop to it.
“I had a great time sitting next to you on the plane,” she says before telling this man she’d only just met to drop her off in Silverlake.
Martine (Olivia Thirlby) is an artist from New York who makes her way to California to put the finishing touches on her small, art film with Peter (John Krasinski), a sound designer who is also about to begin work on a major motion picture. Silent, monochromatic and full of scurrying bugs, Martine’s film is laughable and cliche. She believes it sheds light on human and social interaction. Her film’s sophomoric content is reflected in her personality. When Peter suggests using the sound of heartbeats, Martine instead proposes they find the sound of heartache. She strives for deep human interaction and relationships, but only engages in meaningless sexual romps.
Peter and Martine begin eyeing each other and, almost instantly, their sexual escapades begin. Several minutes after dirtying an otherwise clean desk with their sex-having, Martine spots Peter and his wife, Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt), an ex post-feminist protester. Martine looks longingly through a sliding glass door at the married couple conversing comfortably and naturally. There’s not a moment in the film where Martine and Peter engage in any sort of conversation.
The questions brought up throughout the film are reflected in a subplot featuring Peter’s step-daughter, Kolt (India Ennenga), the only character who seems willing to question her sexual drive and the role it plays in her relationships. Her poetry and thoughts act as bookends to the film.
Many of the characters make questionable decisions, but none of them become the bad guy. There is no chainsaw wielding killer or invading army in this movie. The antagonist is the sexual urges of each character. Instead of screaming at the screen and warning them not to enter the old, dark cabin because they’ll be killed, you yell, “Oh no, don’t have the sex on that table while your daughter makes a sandwich in the other room!”
The acting is understated and perfect for the mood of the film. John Krasinski does a fine job of distancing this character from the one he plays on The Office. Rosemarie DeWitt is particularly effective as Julie. Her face is so emotive, even with the slightest gesture or movement.
Though the film revolves around the relationship between a visual artists and a sound designer, these A/V elements play a very minimal role in the film. The music stays in the background, never drawing too much attention to itself, and Ry Russo-Young’s direction is precise and non-invasive. The film itself is nice and short. It never lingers, but still has enough breathing room for the actors to work with.
Nobody Walks is compelling without being in your face. It presents an interesting, almost analytic approach to sexual fidelity and urges.
I give Nobody Walks 4 “puberties” out of 5.
Oh yeah and despite what the title says, many of the characters in the film do indeed walk.
by Matt Glass