Review: Nobody Famous
A stylish comedy thriller with more style than thrills.
Nobody Famous is a comedy thriller centred around five vapid actor friends who spiral into jealousy over the course of a cottage weekend. It opens with crisp, slowed down shots of the five friends singing in a car – but instead of hearing them or their music we hear an orchestra playing, setting a dramatic stage for what is to come. Throughout the film there are stylistic sequences with unnerving classical music played over them. Along with the story’s themes, this sets up an intriguing American Psycho meets Spring Breakers vibe. The story, however, is not pushed far enough to live up to this set up. The movie’s sleek cinematography and mood setting score continue throughout the film as its most impressive features. Like its characters, Nobody Famous is more successful in style than substance. While its presentation never fails, its performances and writing comes in equal parts good and bad.
The film places its characters in one location and relies on their interactions to move the story forward. This puts a spotlight on the dialogue – which is not always the movie’s most flattering feature. Among plenty of cliché dialogue, along with some overacted deliveries, there are some snappy one-liners on both the dark and light side of comedy. The unlikableness of the characters is the vehicle for many of the jokes, and also one of the best writing choices made. The ballsy character choices, the jokes, and some structural choices show signs that Adrianna DiLonardo is a promising writer – but the cheesy dialogue and need for more plot restrict her to the ‘up and coming’ category for the time being.
The plot sets up some promising storylines that do not go very far. The love triangle becomes a cliché. The closeted gay character becomes an afterthought. The story is only given one chance to escalate with its central twist. The movie is only one hour and twenty minutes long and feels like it is stretched out. It could hold a short film, but as a feature length it could do with more packed in.
Continuing the theme of hits and misses, the performances have some good and some bad. Some of the bad acting, like the nails-on-chalkboard British accent by Grace Belle, turn out to be the character’s bad acting and confusingly end up being good performances as the movie progresses. Some of the bad acting is just bad acting though. The stand out performance is easily Justine Nelson, who plays her part as the laidback and reckless Dani effortlessly. And in a meta-twist, her character proves to also find acting fairly effortless.
The movie partly explores the behind the scenes of casting, yet in its own casting it seems to forget the industries current buzzword: diversity. You could argue there are more female leads than male, but beyond that there seem to be missed opportunities. The gay character is not given much thought or dimension, and beyond that it is just five white friends. The quality of the film is not depleted, but it leaves room for obvious criticism.
Overall, the film is a rough diamond. If you go in without high expectations, you will likely still enjoy it. It is stylish in its presentation, but what it presents is still rough around the edges. Like its characters, it is intriguing but superficial.