No Such Thing
Facts and Figures
Run time: 102 mins
In Theaters: Friday 15th November 2002
Distributed by: United Artists Films/ MGM
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 30
IMDB: 6.2 / 10
No Such Thing Review
Sarah Polley, an exquisite actress, stars as a young journalist-wannabe named Beatrice (in pigtails, natch) who flies to Iceland to locate her boyfriend, who has gone missing along with his entire TV crew. Her plan crashes, she undergoes surgery to get fixed up, then continues on to Iceland where she discovers the fate of her guy: He was killed by a monster (played by Robert John Burke) who lives like a hermit in an abandoned building.
The catch is that this isn't some mindless beast like the Yeti. He's got horns and impermiably leathery skin, and he's irascible, to be sure, but this monster speaks perfect English, smokes cigars, and drinks like a fish. He's got a nasty outlook on life, and when Beatrice brings him back to America, they both become media stars.
Hartley's wry sense of humor fits the story pretty well: The monster is asked by one reporter whether he, a monster in "this day and age" isn't, well, irrelevant. But for a movie about a gruesome monster, there's an awful lot of philosophical chattering and entirely wasted scenes. Why all the nonsense with Beatrice's plane crash, her surgery, and recovery? It adds nothing to the story and simply makes you wonder what Hartley's been smoking. Hartley wants us to question whether it all isn't irrelevant, but the message never comes through very well.
The latter portions of the film also follow typical plot points you wouldn't expect out of Hartley: experimentation on the creature and his cool reception by the outside world. Basically, it's Splash without the jokes.
But there's enough uniqueness in the story to make it worthwhile for Harley fans. If it had been better crafted, it might have been a modern day fairy tale for all of us.