After a television station's camera crew goes missing in Iceland, Beatrice, a young and naive reporter, is sent to the remote area to investigate. On her arrival, she learns that a monster is to blame for the death of the TV crew, but when she comes face-to-face with the beast she discovers a depressed and suicidal creature who wants nothing more than death. Beatrice tries her best to help the monster, but unfortunately she delivers him straight to the media. If there is one thing that both lovers and haters of Hal Hartley can agree on its the fact that all of his films are unique cinematic experiences. No Such Thing may be his most thematically ambitious film, being a scathing commentary on the sensationalism of modern media that has created a society built around voyeurism and the need for instant gratification. The film establishes an incredibly hostile world where humanity is constantly on edge, waiting for the next terrorist attack, economic collapse, or random act of violence. Nearly every human character in this film is a self-serving individual from Beatrice's boss, to the secluded Icelandic villagers who slyly offer Beatrice as a sacrifice to the monster in an effort to save their own skin. No Such Thing is an angry film about what our society has become and while it raises some interesting points, it never quite develops into anything that couldn't have been said in the short film format. It's a weird step in Hartley's career, being a much bigger film in scope, that unfortunately lacks many of the small, quirky moments that made Hartley a great iconoclast filmmaker. Hal Hartley's No Such Thing is certainly a lesser effort in the director's career but its unique story and well-written dialogue make it worth watching, even if its message is a little overwrought.
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