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Smart sci-fi drama HBO Max that will stay with you for days

Jared Leto as Mr. Nobody. Magnolia Pictures/YouTube When it comes to thought-provoking sci-fi drama, you won’t do much better than Mr. Nobody. At least, that’s what critics thought when it premiered in 2009 — hitting best movie lists of the year. Still, no-one saw it until it was released two years later in the US, carrying a couple of Venice Film…


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Jared Leto as Mr. Nobody.


Magnolia Pictures/YouTube

When it comes to thought-provoking sci-fi drama, you won’t do much better than Mr. Nobody. At least, that’s what critics thought when it premiered in 2009 — hitting best movie lists of the year. It was not released in the USA until two years later, with a few Venice Film Festival wins under its arm.

It has Jared Leto playing different versions of a man named Mr. Nobody. From 34, to 118 years old, we see the full timeline of a man at different stages of his life — and an actor under different levels of prosthetics.

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Both are impressive.

Mr. Nobody is sitting in HBO Max’s vault right now. This cult classic is more than a decade old and waiting to be discovered by others.

Jared Leto stars as the titular Mr. Nemo Nobody, a 118-year-old man living in a future where “quasi-immortality” is the norm. Audiences all over the world are fascinated by Mr. Nobody, the last man on earth. They wait patiently for him, hoping that he will die and make a meaningful TV spot.

We settle in for Mr. Nobody’s life story, but Mr. Nobody’s life story makes no sense.

From the beginning of time to the very end of time — from a white void swirling with angels to a spacecraft heading for the Red Planet — we see the full length of Mr. Nobody’s existence.

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Jared Leto as 118-year-old Mr. Nobody.


Magnolia Pictures/YouTube

Yet — wisely — the movie sticks close to the human relationships that sew his life together.

We flash back to Jared Leto not wearing prosthetics as we cover pivotal periods in Mr. Nobody’s life. They’re all connected to his failed relationships tracking back to the ’80s, with Elise (Sarah Polley), Anna (Diane Kruger) and Jeanne (Linh Dan Pham).

These periods, colored with blue, red and yellow motifs, represent different mindsets: Depression and despair (blue), passion and love (red) and material wealth (yellow).

Mr. No one is ever on a quest to find the best way to live their lives. He is imagining every outcome possible from every decision he makes. Is he going to marry Elise, Anna, or Jeanne?

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The future.


Magnolia Pictures/YouTube

We see these outcomes in an album of sumptuous frames evoking colorful fairy tale versions of The Matrix, Inception and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

We flip from page to page via visual effects supervisor Louis Morin’s peak creative transitions. An austere bank’s doors open onto a white sandy beach, swarmed with helicopters. These helicopters literally lift the ocean slabs into place like a puzzle piece. Louis Morin, who wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to bring the dreamscape to life, is that Louis Morin.

Aside from an award-winning minimalist score, you’ve got Buddy Holly, Hans Zimmer, Otis Redding, Eurythmics and four different versions of Mr. Sandman to help transport you to this sci-fi fairy tale.

If there’s one flaw, it’s that the story holding everything together is dabbed on with a half-dried glue stick. Mr. Nobody doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. This might be the point. He is exploring his options, looking back, and stepping into the future.

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Young Nemo choosing between his mother and father.


Magnolia Pictures/YouTube

And yet Mr. Nobody keeps you sitting through the end credits. It is a difficult decision. As a young boy, Mr. Nobody must decide whether he wants to live with his mother or his father after their divorce. Brutal.

Here’s the twist: add a third choice to that. What if you didn’t have to make a choice?

Choice and meaningful choices are what concern celebrated Belgian director-screenwriter Jaco Van Dormael. Jaco Van Dormael, a celebrated Belgian director-screenwriter, explains it through his role as a science TV presenter. We are covering chaos theory, the butterfly effects, pigeon superstition, and the space/time continuum. We’re covering the Big

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