Nobody Walks | Movie review
Olivia Thirlby upends the life of an L.A. family.
Leo Tolstoy famously remarked that there are two kinds of stories: A man goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. In Nobody Walks, the third feature by Ry Russo-Young (the apostrophe-less You Wont Miss Me), both happen at once. The stranger is Olivia Thirlby’s video artist Martine, who decamps from New York to Los Angeles while finishing a short film. In the process, she upends the home of the sound engineer, Peter (John Krasinski), who’s acting as her host. Peter’s wife, Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt), instantly sees his attraction to Martine’s youth and unsullied artistry—he’s helping her finish her film, adding crunching sounds and first-person voiceover to close-up footage of insects. But Julie trusts him to value their family over a momentary compulsion, which turns out to be a mistake.
Russo-Young, who cowrote the script with the ubiquitous Lena Dunham, has a sure, understated feel for the mixture of bohemian idealism and left-coast cool that allows destructive impulses to flourish unchecked, but she doesn’t judge her characters, who—young and old—are all in one larval stage or another. Thirlby, her hair pixie-cut and her Juno-esque snark flensed away, holds the center with a magnetic intelligence. Her character is hungry for experience and functionally amoral. She takes in on foot what Angelenos miss in the drive-by. (Available on VOD Fri 7; see magsneaks.com for details.)