Nick Nolte: No Exit
Nick Nolte: No Exit is a baffling little documentary, shoddily directed by Tom Thurman. It centers around, obviously, Mr. Nick Nolte. But not in any sort of familiar documentary methods. It centers around Nolte in a conversation (via webcam) with, well, himself. One is dressed strangely, but at least kempt, and in a suit. The other is in some sort of chef’s smock and is clearly intoxicated (that 7up bottle doesn’t fool anyone). Well-dressed Nolte is asking the questions, while drunk Nolte finds all sorts of ways to not answer them.
Spliced in between Nolte rambling on and on about nothing with himself, are interviews with various film folk who’ve become close with him. These include Alan Rudolph, Patricia Arquette, Ben Stiller, and Jacqueline Bisset.
While some of the stories told by the Noltes are somewhat interesting (his odd relationship with Marlon Brandon, his projects with Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese), most of the things he mumbles about in an almost unintelligible voice, are irrelevant, and ridiculous. At one point, no doubt due to the vodka in the 7up bottle, Nolte just starts making crazy animal noises and contorting his face–a great insight to this misunderstood actor.
When he asks himself how many wives he’s had, he answer in a faux-existentialist murmur, ‘how many wives can you have?’ When he asks himself about whether or not he believes in God, he mumbles something like, ‘sure, why not.’ The questions are left at that, like the viewer should be satisfied.
The question had to be asked eventually about his now infamous mugshot. In response, Nolte starts a yarn about how he thanked the policeman for getting him off the road, that the mugshot isn’t actually a mugshot, it s a picture the officer asked permission to take. Nolte claims he agreed to the photo, as long as the officer agreed to share the profit of the inevitable sale to TMZ or whomever, with his fellow policemen. He then started to talk about how he wasn’t an alcoholic, that that is just the role that the public decided to cast him in. The point of it all? I’m not sure.
Even his friends didn’t really have much interesting to say about him. And even if they did, who can ever really take what Stiller and Arquette say at face value? Perhaps the most stalwart of Nick Nolte fans may find something of value here, but for the vast majority, this will be a very sad 70 minutes of a drunk old man remembering better times.