No Such Thing


Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 21
  2. Negative: 6 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. 70
    The movie is not exactly an upper, but Hartley fans won't want to miss the latest creation of this consistently intelligent director.
  2. 60
    May be far from perfect, but those small, odd Hartley touches help you warm to it.
  3. 50
    Hartley's most ambitious film, but it's also among his most uneven, shifting away at moments when its characters should be allowed to connect, underemphasizing some themes, overemphasizing others, and letting a general clash of ideas stand in for momentum.
  4. 50
    The film is little more than a stylish exercise in revisionism whose point -- we create, then destroy our own monsters in order to assure ourselves we're human -- is no doubt true, but serves as a rather thin moral to such a knowing fable.
  5. An uneasy mixture of tragedy, satire, monster yarn and David Cronenberg creepiness, No Such Thing can't decide what it wants to be or how it needs to get there.
  6. Burke's face is impressively scaly, his head is adorned with shorn horns. He makes a great monster. If only he had a better movie to growl in!
  7. Not everyone, for sure, is going to be able or willing to go the distance in this ambitious but exceedingly offbeat epic, which is great-looking and has a sweeping romantic score by Hartley himself.
  8. 50
    If you've come to appreciate Hal Hartley's idiosyncratic style through films like "Flirt" and "The Unbelievable Truth," his take on the monster movie genre will intrigue you. But, ultimately, disappoint you.
  9. Less an American product than an international escapade, it's the kind of pigeonhole-resisting romp that Hollywood too rarely provides.
  10. 50
    Hartley's loquacity and arguable pretentiousness are stemmed by his sense of play. Even when they run afoul, his movies still have the conviction of their fun. No Such Thing barely has any convictions at all.
  11. Hartley is trapped between sincerity and mock sincerity, and that all but dooms a filmmaker to slipping through the cracks.
  12. 40
    The underlying theme constantly changes shape, not in a way that seems rich in ambiguity, but in a way that seems poorly worked out.
  13. 40
    Does he (Hartley) succeed? Not with a movie this plodding, peevish and gimmicky. Is it fun to watch him try? Me, I'll take failed ambition over hack efficiency any day.
  14. 40
    More abrasively quirky than a lesser Bjork B-side, though the hideous monster who co-stars hails from Iceland, too.
  15. 40
    Thematic muddle aside, the film's appeal lies in Burke's ranting charisma, Julie Christie's thankless turn as a sympathetic doctor, and Michael Spiller's radiant cinematography, which frequently captures the mythic grandeur that eludes Hartley's narrative grasp.
  16. The film's pace is just plain wacky, moving with the haste of a receding glacier most of the time, but then jumping ahead as if Hartley hit the gas on a time machine.
  17. Reviewed by: Chris Gore
    Yes, the film is an allegorical modern fairy tale with plenty of pretty obvious social commentary, but if I can't identify with one character or be made to care, then what's the point?
  18. 25
    No Such Thing is inexplicable, shapeless, dull. It doesn't even rise to entertaining badness.
  19. 20
    Fails in so many respects, even die-hard constituents may have trouble learning to like it.
  20. Seems more theatrical than cinematic, needing the kind of direct address that only a stage can provide.
  21. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Deadly dull in stretches, and just plain embarrassing in others.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 10
  2. Negative: 4 out of 10
  1. Nov 28, 2012
    This is possibly my favorite movie ever. It's not for everyone, but if you like unique, intelligent, creative, engaging films you better notThis is possibly my favorite movie ever. It's not for everyone, but if you like unique, intelligent, creative, engaging films you better not pass up on this one. Don't go into it with expectations of some Hollywood-esqe experience, this is a very different creature. I almost never watch movies more than once, but I have a desire to watch this movie pretty much annually. If you like this movie, check out other films by Hal Hartley (Henry Fool, Book of Life, etc). I've never seen one I haven't been impressed with. Full Review »
  2. ChadS.
    Apr 12, 2007
    When Beatrice(Sarah Polley) encounters The Monster(Robert John Burke), "No Such Thing" starts to bear a faint resemblance to "King When Beatrice(Sarah Polley) encounters The Monster(Robert John Burke), "No Such Thing" starts to bear a faint resemblance to "King Kong"(maybe this is a retelling from the avant-garde perspective). If the ape was in a play, he'd be mumbling solioquies, too. As The Monster expresses his loneliness and despair to Beatrice(who is there to search for her fiance), it occured to me that this might be a literal translation of Kong's roaring(maybe Kong was in anguish about being the last of his kind, too). Like the RKO film, a woman is delivered to the beast as a peace offering by the natives(and also, the woman reaches her destination by boat, albeit by a more convoluted manner). For most viewers, "No Such Thing" goes off the rails when Beatrice returns home with The Monster; the change in tone(from sobering to bubbly) is abrupt and jarring to even the most adventurous cineaste. Inexplicably, Beatrice undergoes a personality change; she wears provocative clothing and jumps into bed too easily with strange men, which is a drastic change from the nice girl(bookish, chaste) image we previously had of her. This is a stretch, but let's consider that in "King Kong", the giant ape was the spectacle(he was put on exhibition by his captors); in "No Such Thing", the girl is put on display(Polley wears a push-up bra and dominatrix clothing). When the monster gets loose in the city, it's the people who do the pummeling. In the final scene of "No Such Thing"(the monster's death), there's another inversion of a "Kong" plotpoint; the giant ape who climbs the building and stands at the apex of New York City with Fay Wray(or Jessica Lange, or Naomi Watts) in his hand. This filmmaker made me realize for the first time that the giant ape was probably trying to commit suicide. Was this obvious to everybody but me? Kong wanted to die with his beloved prize, but he changed his mind and set the girl down. "No Such Thing" fails as an entertainment(and fails as art), but if you consider the filmmaker's oeuvre, attention must be paid to the madness(too much time is spent on Beatrice's rehab) because there just might be a method(or not). Full Review »