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No Such Thing

74 customer reviews

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(Jul 09, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Good and evil, love and hate collide in this captivating adventure from award-winning director Hal Hartley. Starring Sarah Polley (The Claim), Robert John Burke (Robocop 3), Academy Award® nominee* Helen Mirren (Gosford Park) and Academy Award® winner** Julie Christie (Dr. Zhivago), No Such Thing is a provocative and deeply moving film thatwill change the way you look at the world. New York journalist Beatrice (Polley) travels to Iceland to find a monster (Burke) believed to have killed her fiancé. Once she meets the beast, he opens her eyes to the horror of his existencehe has witnessed history from the dawn of time. Moved to help him, Beatrice takes the monster to New York. But when a media firestorm erupts, Beatrice realizesher monster is more than he appears to be and the world may not be ready for the truth. *Supporting Actress, Gosford Park (2001); Supporting Actress, The Madness of King George (1994). **Actress, Darling (1965).

Writer-director Hal Hartley (Henry Fool, The Book of Life) has loosened his usual arch style, but the results are no less distinctive. Sarah Polley (Go, The Sweet Hereafter) plays Beatrice, a naive young reporter who is sent by a huge media conglomerate to investigate the disappearance of a camera crew in Iceland. Eventually she finds an immortal but depressed and alcoholic monster (Robert John Burke) who wants nothing more than to die. Beatrice agrees to help him find the one man who can kill him, and she draws the monster out into an invasive media spotlight. No Such Thing is maybe too ambitious; the story tackles not just the media and world unrest, but even the history of mankind. Still, like most of Hartley's work, the movie remains uniquely engaging, a delicate mix of irony and sincerity. Also starring Helen Mirren (Gosford Park) and Julie Christie (Afterglow). --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Sarah Polley, Robert John Burke, Margrét Ákadóttir, Julie Anderson, Anna Kristín Arngrímsdóttir
  • Directors: Hal Hartley
  • Writers: Hal Hartley
  • Producers: Hal Hartley, Cecilia Kate Roque, Francis Ford Coppola, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, Linda Reisman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Icelandic
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 9, 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000066JBR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,807 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "No Such Thing" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 59 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on June 13, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I can't remember how this film ended up in my hands (maybe a friend recommended it), but I won't ever let it go now. There is endless speculation here at about "what this films meanings are", and after viewing it several times, I might (and that's an awfully big "MIGHT") be able to add my two cents. But first, let me tell you briefly what this sucker's all about:

Beatrice (Sarah Polley), a nobody reporter for an obscure media magnate, is sent to Iceland to speak with the natives of a distant village about their belief that an ancient monster lives in an abandoned missile silo somewhere near their dwellings. On her way to Iceland many strange things happen to Beatrice: her purse gets stolen by a dark and sinister looking female drug addict, shadows lurk around corners, and Beatrice begins to feel that evil is not too far away from her. And she's right. Her plane crashes into the Atlantic Ocean and she is the only survivor. After many, many months of therapy (and going through an oddball spinal operation that involves excruciating pain that causes her to black out), she's finally able to make it to the Icelandic village ...and soon discovers that the monster is REAL!

Robert John Burke (Robo Cop 3 and Tombstone) plays the monster who's been around since "humans crawled out of the primordial ooze." He's a sarcastic, burned out monster who's only hope is that he'll die one of these millennia and be put out of his misery of watching the human race devour itself. He's an excellent character who you just love listening to, his voice a slow cadence contained within a body who's personality swings from depression to wrath in the blink of an eye.
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47 of 57 people found the following review helpful By E Rice on November 23, 2003
Format: DVD
is that it needs a sophisticated, well-informed audience, able to make connections without large neon arrows, and aware of nuance. intelligence helps.
i originally watched this film because it was set in iceland. i watched it a second time, and am buying the dvd, because of all the subtle, quiet bits of staging, the wonderful dialogue, its absurdity, the quality of the performances, and the density of meaning and references--not only the obvious, but possibly the obscure: does this scene reference morality plays? does the movie satirize quest legends?
this film reminds me of a review the author dick francis once got--the reviewer said that francis leaves much unsaid but nothing unexpressed.
if you prefer to actively participate in a performance, to have your mind as well as your emotions engaged, this is a film you will enjoy. if every motivation and action has to be explained to you by several minutes of dialogue, look somewhere else.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Colford on July 4, 2003
Format: DVD
I had been eagerly anticipating this film because it featured three of my favorite film personalities... Hal Hartley, Sarah Polley and Helen Mirren.
Buzz around this new film had been rather negative... largely, I think, due to the trailer on the NO SUCH THING website, that makes the film look like a mainstream film... which is certainly is not. It's Hal, through and through and I really loved it. Sarah Polley and Helen Mirren are outstanding as an innocent, waifish assistant, and her hard-nosed, cynical boss respectively, on a television news show. Robert Burke (UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH, SIMPLE MEN) plays the monster. Julie Christie also appears as a brilliant doctor in Iceland.
Hartley tackles a stairical look at the media... and does so with humor and real emotion. Some of Polley's scenes as she undergoes a series of traumatic hardships are amazing. And the slow revelation about the monster while hardly unexpected is still surprising. Once again, Hartley wraps things up with a mysterious and transcendent ending.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on July 9, 2002
Format: DVD
As individuals, or collectively as a society, what is it, exactly, that we are afraid of? Since the beginning of time, what has really been behind all those knee-jerk reactions that have brought us to where we are today? These are the questions posed (and answered) by writer/director Hal Hartley in "No Such Thing," an often biting satire of the news media, the all-to-prevalent-in-our-society tabloid-type mentality and our response to the unknown, be it tangible or imaginary; a film that brings us face to face with fear and confronts it with humor, pathos and Hartley's own insightful and inimitable take on the human condition.
Some time after a three-man television news team disappears after being sent to Iceland to investigate reports of a "monster" living on a rock island just off the coast, the station receives a tape recording from someone claiming to be the monster himself, describing in graphic detail what he did with those dispatched to find and film him. "The Boss (Helen Mirren)" of the news department, in her quest to give the public the "worst news" possible, agrees to send another employee, Beatrice (Sarah Polley), to Iceland to follow up on it, since Beatrice was engaged to the cameraman of the crew gone missing.
After a temporary delay due to circumstances beyond her control, Beatrice finally makes it to Iceland, where she has to trek to a remote village on the coast (the final leg of which she has to walk, as even horses can't make it through). Once there, the locals tell their tales of the "monster," who has apparently always been with them, and point out to her the rock upon which he is purported to live.
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