Movie review: 'Nobody Walks,' with intriguing cast, steps away from its potential

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Truth be told, "Nobody Walks" is about First World Problems.

The country of privilege here is Los Angeles, which is where New York artist Martine (Olivia Thirlby) has landed to work on a film that will run on a loop at her future gallery show. Shot in black and white, it's all about ants, with themes about humans versus nature and the personal versus the intricate complexities of the community.

In fact, those ideas are explored in "Nobody Walks," directed by Ry Russo-Young and co-written with "Girls" creator and sensation Lena Dunham.

'Nobody Walks'

2 stars = Mediocre
Ratings explained
  • Starring: Olivia Thirlby, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt.
  • Rating: R for sexuality, language and some drug use.

Martine is staying with friends of a friend, namely therapist Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt) and sound designer Peter (John Krasinski) and their teenage daughter (India Ennenga) and young son.

Julie is fending off the inappropriate advances of a screenwriter client (Justin Kirk) while Peter is intoxicated by the youth, beauty and free-spirited nature of the family's visitor, conveniently staying in the pool house and working in the home studio. The 16-year-old, whose biological dad is a rocker (Dylan McDermott), pines for Peter's assistant (Rhys Wakefield) even as she copes with a lecherous Italian tutor.

Mr. Krasinski and Ms. DeWitt, coincidentally, soon will turn up in "Promised Land," the Gus Van Sant movie filmed in Western Pennsylvania with fracking as a backdrop, while Ms. Thirlby delivers on her early promise as the best friend to pregnant "Juno" and a passenger on the ill-fated "United 93." As the teenage daughter, Ms. Ennenga pines so convincingly that she makes you feel her tender heart ache.

In California's car culture, nobody walks, and nobody walks away unchanged by Martine's visit. At just 82 minutes, though, "Nobody Walks" feels weightless and abridged, despite an intriguing cast and a story about attraction, betrayal, the shifting sands of relationships and the erotic danger of working in a soundproof studio.

Opens today at the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill.


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog:


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