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No Such Thing
DVD disk
Oct 6, 2004 By: Scott Weinberg
No Such Thing order
Director:
Hal Hartley

Actors:
Sarah Polley
Robert John Burke
Helen Mirren

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A young woman discovers a gruff and homicidal monster while searching for her fiancee on a tiny island off the northern coast of Iceland.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Few filmmakers are an ‘acquired taste’ as much as Hal Hartley is (SIMPLE MEN, FLIRT, THE BOOK OF LIFE), but here’s a modern day fairy-tale (with a dark edge) that may win the celebrated writer/director a few new fans. If the idea of a modern-day ‘monster’ seems a bit absurd for an essentially dramatic story, that’s because it’s meant to be a bit absurd. The Monster (as played by ROBOCOP 3’s Robert John Burke) is an immortal, tragic being that – over the countless millennia – has grown a deep hatred for all things human…and his logic is pretty tough to argue with (In the film’s early scenes, it seems clear that humanity has pretty much reached its lowest point imaginable.)

Sarah Polley (THE CLAIM, GO) would be reason enough to see any film, as she’s easily one of the best young actresses working today. Never one to take the ‘easy roles’, Polley once again commands your attention in every scene and creates a wholly realistic character, whereas another actress may just have ended up as ‘the pretty girl talking to the monster’. Burke also delivers a fantastic performance, one that’s even more impressive when you consider the elaborate (and effective) make-up he’s forced to contend with. It’s a testament to Burke’s performance (and of course Hartley’s screenplay) that you may actually find yourself agreeing with the creature’s logical disdain for humanity. Veteran actors Julie Christie (DEMON SEED) and Helen Mirren (GOSFORD PARK) add welcome shades of heart (Christie) and venom (Mirren) as a compassionate doctor and a heartless news editor, respectively.

Laced with liberal doses of dark humor, gorgeous exterior photography, and a stable-full of solid performances, NO SUCH THING is a fascinating little tale, one you’ll probably enjoy even if you haven’t the slightest clue who Hal Hartley is. It’s an enjoyably askew parable that’s got something interesting to say, and does so in entertaining fashion. If you’re looking for a little intellectual ‘roughage’ in between the bigger, louder flicks we all know and love, you should absolutely consider this film worthy of a look
THE EXTRAS
Just the Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
A clever, intelligent and entertaining little movie that you’ll most likely discover on cable one night – and you’ll watch the whole damn thing
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