When “Nowhere Man” opens, we learn right off the bat that Conrad (Rodrick) has lost something and that Jennifer (Rochon) has taken it. She wants money to give it back – money that Conrad doesn’t have. So he hunts for her, traveling through her past – a past that he’s just recently discovered. It soon becomes clear that what Conrad lost was his penis, that Jennifer cut it off in a rage, and is holding it hostage, forcing him to jump through hoops (most of which he created) to get it back. Later, we find out why.
The latest film from director Tim McCann (“Revolution No. 9”), “Nowhere Man” is the ultimate ‘relationship-gone-bad’ film, a twisting narrative that predominantly plays backwards (the first and last scenes bookend the chronology), resulting in a pitch-black dark comedy about the consequences of your actions. As the movie unfolds, you begin to suspect that perhaps Jennifer isn’t quite the villain Conrad has made her out to be, and that perhaps Conrad isn’t quite the innocent victim.
McCann’s visual style for the look and editing of the film is highly stylized, and the reverse-chronology narrative forces the viewer to work in order to keep up with the plot. This never feels like a trick or a cheat, but rather an integral part of McCann’s specific vision for the film. While story-wise, you may not buy the revelation that actually sets the events in motion, but a bit of reflection may reveal that it’s no more unbelievable than anything else. Every character has their own motivations and some are not so clear-cut, as well as personal histories that keep them from feeling like they were born whole right after the opening credits. What’s interesting is you never feel that you’re watching anything less than people on screen, the performances are that splendid. Rochon, who has almost a hundred films to her credit and a huge cult-following, slips completely into ‘Jennifer’s skin, creating just as three-dimensional a character as the lesser-known Rodrick and Oliver. (It might be a bit disconcerting to Troma fans to see Lloyd Kaufman in a straight role, however.)
“Nowhere Man” is a grim and gritty movie, but sardonically funny at the same time. Though never graphic, it’s not a film for the squeamish, the insecure male, or those lacking a black sense of humor. An outstanding film – dark, twisted and impressive – that stays with you long after it ends.