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Nobody Is Crazy

average rating is 4 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Apr 8, 2022

Film Reviews
Nobody Is Crazy
Directed by:
Federico J. Arioni
Written by:
Federico J. Arioni
Jose Manuel Gutierrez, Federico J. Arioni, Lara Ammi Wheeler

Time travel is tricky stuff. It twists your melon – man; especially when you're trying to deal with actual quantum physics and not just that cutesy Grandfather paradox/alternate timeline junk that they sell you in films and on TV. As Nobody (Arioni) in Federico J Arioni's film Nobody Is Crazy/Nadie Esta Loco is fond of quoting from Ecclesiastes: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” And this, believe it or not, actually helps make things a lot easier to understand.


Nobody's (and Ecclesiastes') point is that nothing can be changed. Through past, present and future, all that has been, is, or will ever be is already set, with no heroic time-traveller or fancy chronometric shenanigans being able to alter that. It's probably best to keep that in mind as you delve into the plot of Nobody Is Crazy and the life of its main character Rafael.


Rafael (Gutierrez) is a lonely 16 year old boy living in Neuquen, Argentina. He has OCD which keeps his systems rigid and his social circle non-existent. His mother is at her wit's end trying to get him to go to school and engage with other children his age, which has led her to threaten him with being sent to military school. Rafael's psychologist, the latest in a long line, can't seem to get through to him either, and as a last ditch attempt suggests a therapy group that meets three times a week where he can listen and not engage if he doesn't want to. Naturally, this is where things start to go awry.


Outside of the group one day, Rafael meets an enigmatic stranger in a black eye-mask and gloves. This oddball calls himself Nobody and professes to be a time-traveller; a skill which he says ultimately he can't control. For the first time in a long time Rafael's curiosity is piqued and the two form a friendship of sorts, based mostly on Rafael's need to uncover this other so-called crazy person's lies.


What follows is an exploration of the theory and plausibility of time travel through intense dialectics. Nobody acts as the perfect foil to Rafael with his upbeat attitude and alternative viewpoints on the world. His mask keeps him mysterious and strangely believable as a time-traveller whilst at the same time marking him out as a kook and a fantasist. This split dynamic keeps Rafael interested long enough to lose some of his inhibitions about being around people and places while he investigates who on Earth Nobody is. Then when a girl, Daria (Wheeler) is introduced into the mix, things get taken up a notch and Rafael finally gets serious about what kind of a person he wants to be in future.


Arioni's film is throughout a clever mix of coming of age story and time-travelling mind f***. The characters are extremely well drawn and just off-kilter enough to keep the audience guessing as to who they are behind their ego, or their psychoses, or their mask (literal or metaphorical). The direction and cinematography play their part nicely, shifting between close-ups and wide shots as the dialogue takes the characters into newer and more varied spaces.


The dialogue itself can run at breakneck speed, with the first twenty minutes in particular being difficult to follow as there's so much to read in the subtitles that it can be hard to find time to see what's happening on screen. After that though, things settle down and then all you have to deal with is the science and philosophy of quantum mechanics. Simples.


The actors are natural and engaging in their roles with Arioli in particular pulling off a fine job behind the mask as the enigmatic Nobody. Adding to the feel of all of this are the nice 80's references which Nobody brings along with him and the excellent placement of the music, both songs and score.


There are some really nice nods to other time travel movies all the way through the film and spacetime geeks will have a field day finding all the references littered around. There is also a fun Ferris Bueller scene in an art gallery but overall Nobody Is Crazy feels most akin to Vanilla Sky (2001) or more accurately its Spanish predecessor Abre Los Ojos (1997), with its mind bending dialogue and references and its solipsism (I had to look it up).


Overall Nobody Is Crazy/Nadie Esta Loco is a fun ride with some truly unique characters who are ready to walk and talk and time travel all at the same time.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Indie Feature Film, World Cinema
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