John Krasinski is Peter, a Hollywood sound effects man who lives with therapist wife Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt) and her two kids from a previous marriage in the blissful filmmaker-centric community of Silver Lake.
Helping Martine (Thirlby’s character) with the soundtrack of her short experimental piece focusing on the lives of insects, her presence stirs within him a desire which he battles to keep a lid on. Meanwhile, Julie’s 16-year-old daughter is secretly in love with Peter’s young assistant (who is himself, growing close to Martine) and the therapist is also forced to deal with the untoward advances of one of her own patients.
Nobody Walks is reminiscent of the kind of indie film which, to a certain extent, characterises Sundance, with its laid back, idiosyncratic observations on life and love. The sound recording sessions and Thirby’s black and white film (which is intercut into various scenes) lends the film an eccentric, Miranda July-type whimsy, and it shares that same baggy Californian attitude towards sex and relationships which was at the heart of two past Sundance favourites set in a similar milieu, The Kids Are Alright and Laurel Canyon. Russo-Young’s film isn’t quite as compelling as those previous entries, and the director occasionally struggles to get her points across, causing things to slide dangerously close to overly self-conscious quirkiness at times.
That being said, there’s still an undeniable charm about it. The performances are all great (with Thirby and the criminally-underrated DeWitt coming up top) and Russo-Young manages to conjure up some very real human moments in her characters (the bubbling sexual tension between Martine and Peter as they sit working together in his soundproof studio basement is both incredibly palpable and uncomfortably plausible).
Nobody Walks is bound to rub some viewers up the wrong way, but what comes through is the voice of an intriguing filmmaker, who will undoubtedly go on to produce equally polarising work.