Nothingman: Colman Domingo gives an emotionally charged performance

The plight of the homeless in Los Angeles come into sharp focus in the short film Nothingman, featuring Fear the Walking Dead star Colman Domingo.

Nothingman is a powerful tale of one man’s mission to be a voice for the voiceless on the streets of Los Angeles. Colman Domingo delivers another career performance in this short film that shines a spotlight on the harsh realities of life on LA’s notorious Skid Row.

Domingo stars as Otis Tremmel, a man with a lot of life experience whose daily priority is to stay high enough to forget about his life’s experience. “Memory is [his] prison,” he says. He doesn’t want your sympathy. He knows the reality of Skid Row all too well: Any time there is unrest or violence the only ones who will pay the price are the people who live there. To that end, he is known as the guy who can help with problems.

Thus begins Tremmel’s journey in Nothingman. Domingo goes all-in with his role as Tremmel vacillates between moments of great clarity and a drug induced haze, but all the while he’s still aware of his mission. He’s helping a friend who lost someone close to him, and the impromptu investigation takes him from the shadows of Skid Row to the bright and shiny world that is Santa Monica and back to Downtown Los Angeles. All the while he’s aware of his place as one of the “bastard children of Los Angeles” but that doesn’t stop him from doing what’s right. 

Nothingman was written and directed by the team of Eli Kooris and Joshua Shaffer. It’s the kind of short film that grabs the audience from the very first moments and draws you in for the duration. Kooris and Shaffer utilize the interplay of harsh daylight and the comforting shadows of night along with lots of tight camera shots to bring an edginess to the film that really complements Tremmel’s journey.

As Otis Tremmel, Domingo’s performance draws you in and holds you in a vice-like grip; like a car accident on the 405 Freeway, you can’t look away. And you shouldn’t look away. That’s one of the biggest messages of the film.

The homeless of Los Angeles are viewed by many people as a blight on the city, but Nothingman is a powerful reminder of the humanity that exists under the thin layer of cardboard that insulates the homeless from the prying eyes of an outside world that simply doesn’t understand what life is like on Skid Row.

Nothingman has been all over the festival circuit since its debut, and it’s available now on AppleTV and iTunes.