"No Devil, No Evil, Anything Goes"
What You Need To Know:
Once the monster agrees not to kill Beatrice in the first third of the movie, the jeopardy is over, the climax has occurred and the audience has to wait for an hour for the curtain. The direction of NO SUCH THING is rotten; the acting is pathetic; the script is fatally flawed; the cinematography is awful; the scenes are boring; and, the message is satanic
(PaPaPa, B, C, EV, LLL, VVV, SS, N, AAA, D, M) Very strong pagan worldview with the message that the Devil does not exist, so anything goes, with positive reference to Jesus which is later refuted, christological allegory, & nod to morality, plus talk of evolution; 25 obscenities & 11 profanities; extreme violence, including monster kills man, burns man, breaks blind woman’s walking stick, talks about cannibalizing men, & men beat monster; fornication extolled and pornography; alcoholism; smoking; and, lying & theft.
NO SUCH THING is so bad that judges walked out of the screening at the Cannes Film Festival. It is the type of movie that demands many more sobriquets than MOVIEGUIDE® has space, such as “pretentious paganism,” “D grade filmmaking,” and “sex over beast,”
NO SUCH THING opens with a monster who looks like the Devil off Iceland dictating an announcement that he is tired of killing and eating humans. Then he goes to the nearby village, kills a young man, burns another with his fiery breathe and breaks the walking stick of a blind woman. This guy is bad.
Cut to a New TV news producer drumming up news from her correspondents. The youngest correspondent, innocent Beatrice, tells the hard-hearted producer that the crew they sent to Iceland, including her finance, were killed and eaten by a monster. Rather than care, the producer sends Beatrice to Iceland to get the story. On the way, Beatrice’s plane crashes in the Atlantic, and she is the only survivor. After major surgery and six months of recuperation, Beatrice heads out to find the monster.
When Beatrice gets to the remote village, the citizens get her drunk and leave her as a virgin sacrifice for the monster. The monster recognizes that Beatrice is a nice person and promises not to kill anyone if she can find a mad scientist who can dematerialize him. It seems that the monster is immortal, and only this scientist can end his angst.
This moment, barely a third of the way into the movie, is the climax. Once the monster agrees not to kill, the jeopardy is over, the climax has occurred and now the audience has to wait for the curtain. One hour later, after the monster and Beatrice have returned to civilization, after Beatrice has had sex with strange men, after the government has examined the monster, after the monster has run up a big bar tab trying to drown his sorrow, the movie ends.
The scientist tells the audience that man invented the monster, a.k.a. the Devil, and that he only existed in our fears. Since he wasn’t real, anything goes.
The direction of NO SUCH THING is rotten. According to the other critics at the Cannes Film Festival, Hal Hartley’s direction is always rotten. Furthermore, the acting is pathetic; the script is fatally flawed; the cinematography is awful; the scenes are boring; and, the message is abhorrent. What’s worse, the Los Angeles Times liked NO SUCH THING.