No Such Thing

 (144)6.11 h 43 min2002R
When a journalist (Sarah Polley) travels to Iceland to find the monster (Robert John Burke) responsible for her fiancé's death, her eyes are opened to the horror of the monster's existence, and she realizes her monster is more than he appears to be.
Directors
Hal Hartley
Starring
Annika PetersonBaltasar KormákurHelen Mirren
Genres
ComedyDramaScience Fiction
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
This video is currently unavailable
to watch in your location
Add to Watchlist
Add to
Watchlist
By ordering or viewing, you agree to our Terms. Sold by Amazon.com Services LLC.
Write review

More details

Supporting actors
John Robert BurkeJulie ChristiePaul LazarSarah Polley
Producers
Cecilia Kate RoqueFridrik Thor FridrikssonHal HartleyFrancis Ford CoppolaLinda ReismanWilli Baer
Studio
MGM
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentsmokingviolence
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Other formats

Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

144 global ratings

  1. 42% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 15% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 8% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 16% of reviews have 1 stars

How are ratings calculated?

Write a customer review
Sorted by:

Top reviews from the United States

PDubReviewed in the United States on March 3, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
The door to love has a mirror for a lock
Verified purchase
May I speak to you as though you are an intelligent human being with a conscientious attention-span?

This movie is an unapologetic parable that attempts to capture the reckless trajectory of our modern culture. All things considered, it’s very well done; great acting, left-handedly humorous and sardonic, a little slow-paced at times which seems intended to stretch the attention-span.
This movie is packed with subtlety and DEFINITELY worthy of a re-watch, and here are a handful of subjective axioms I hope you'll consider as you watch:

Parables play a riddling trick on our physiology; just like life, they poke and hope and tickle at our attention-span. If you watch this movie only to be entertained, then just like life, YOU are the very fool of His story.

The monster in this movie is your receptive earthly flesh, and the beautiful woman plays the role of your eternal soul.

It’s just a movie, right?
Yeah, well, nothing is as it seems when we live in the selfish dream, for the whole of soul includes the sleep of all we choose not to see, and EVERYTHING bears the soulful scent of synchronicity rising from the ashes of all that we take literally.

…a quick clarifying disclaimer: “success” to me is all about SELF realization, and identifying the Universal principles that apply to all of us equally with regard to setting the soul free from the limitations of the dreaming ego. You don't have to agree, I'm only watering a mustard seed.
"Seek ye first the Kingdom and all things will be added unto you"
Beneath the sleeping surface of our modern definitions I awoke in the light of a deeper understanding. There’s truly nothing special about me; see me and you'll see through the wise eyes of your empathy, but if you don’t believe in me you’ll only see what you need to see …THIS is the left hand of Irony.

Make no mistake, we live in the decadent stage of Capitalism, and our ignorance is by far the most lucrative commodity.
Something I've realized as I wake-up and shake-off my sheep's sleep; if I identify as the victim, I blame anything outside my Self, which trains a circuit in my brain to view responsibility as a villain.

Women have always ruled this earth, and little boys have always aspired to grow-up to be exactly what women find attractive. The simple math of biology.
Money is the new God, and women make GREAT consumers once they're trained to worship their vanity and impulsiveness. Division politics, gender warfare, consumer attention-span, indulgence is normal/depression is a disease, instant-gratification media ...the trusty ole machine of ignorance is working overtime to possess the souls of the impressionable.
I assure you that a sincere search for truth will very quickly offend the confidence of every modern woman …and the men who love them.

Despite what you’ve been conditioned to believe, the word “Patriotism” isn’t about loyalty, it’s about “proactive process improvement”. Think about it, any social structure that isn’t built on integrity is destined to fail, so if the society you're born into makes a profitable virtue of its own lack of integrity, isn’t "loyalty" like joining a bunch of Babbling idiots at the top of a crumbling Tower?
Those who know the way don't need a lot of help; those who need a lot of help must pay with what they know, if they are made to pay in some other way, the only one helped is the deceiver.

When love divine is redefined to mean consumption, then shall the moon be called brighter in the true light of day, and the nature of time will come as a mother who feeds on the souls that she spoils.

Water follows the path of least resistance, which is a hint about the way that children learn.
Individually and collectively, the shallow river that we follow will eventually flood into the sea, and only the depth of what we know can rescue our soul from sinking.

“Why does the world need to know what it’s like to crash into the sea” –GREAT question!
The words of the soul go deep, but depth today is a lonely language.
The most ennobling of words are lost like a whisper in a chaos of triviality and ironically trendy semantics.
Ignorance will always try and dictate the conversation, and all it wants to talk about is lower expectation.

Did you know that words are redefined over time? For example, a truer definition of the word "optimism" is, "the ability to view pessimism optimistically", but I bet if you said that to any modern optimist they'd unfriend you with the swift confidence of a socially-validated expert.
Those who profit from weakness have no incentive to work for strength. Are you sure it’s wise to rely on the counsel of your social conditioning?

Rely on the integrity of the wits within you and your wits will grow ever stronger, but if your wits learn only to thrive on a contrived paradigm, then what you MUST outwit is a parasite.

Children are intuition’s witness, and mothers are the empirical evidence of our SHARED receptive nature.
I’m not saying that women are responsible; they’re NOT responsible, they are receptive by nature, and yet women have been the liberated model of responsibility for generations of children, in charge of defining the selection criteria of the entire breeding population, so what I am saying is REALLY LOOK at the world around you through the eyes of your ideals, and search your soul for a deeper definition of the word “responsibility”.

SHE has not the faith to make sacred things sacred, SHE has not the mind to take serious things seriously, SHE has not the heart to love beyond her own desire.
SHE is Legion.
Every effect is born of a cause, and Irony too is kin to nature.
The murdering monsters and the modern mystics both share this same motive in common: they’re haunted by an overwhelming cultural lack of personal accountability.

“Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and all of earth’s abominations”
Who thrives in a world of cheap plastic? Those who are gifted with the plastic touch, that all that they touch be made cheap.
The human creature grows PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, and MENTALLY, regardless of gender we are each of us mother to these three, so "Mother" is the nurturing role that belongs to the whole of natural human maturity, it is NOT the insecure fairytale of spoiled narcissists, and we prostitute integrity by adopting the trendy language that ignorantly calls the deception beautiful.
It’s toxic to the mind to believe in someone who isn’t real, and it can take a wasted lifetime of chasing neurotic demons to finally realize that there’s really NO SUCH THING.

Honor, discipline, integrity …only the odd chromosome can lead the stray sheep back home.
What this world needs is responsible daddy's who don't pimp all their energy managing mommy's immaturity.
The responsible father will take his time and first grow wise and then select a bride who is more receptive to Him than she is to modern human nature.
I think even the most childish of humans would have to agree, it's a fortunate soul who is born unto a mature family, and when you make maturity the priority, you find yourself participating in how things are MEANT to be, which is the natural source of harmony and security.
When we take responsibility we are given responsibility over ever greater things, and responsibility is how we truly honor fertile femininity, after all, what does Mother Nature lack but for the sacred seeds of the Father?

“Wealth, comfort, popularity” –sorry to poke holes in your American dream, but these are the materialistic needs of a woman's insecurity, and wise masculinity is lost in the rearview mirror of this perpetually-insecure trajectory.
Truth is enlightened by full sun; we followed our future by moonlight alone and the path has led us to lunacy.
A sensational life is Mother Nature’s abundant gift, but her deception hides in a meaningless death by the hand of cause and effect.

“Forgive them for they know not what they do”
The prize of the wise resides in the light of DOING what is right; those who are most receptive to modern human nature only DO what comes naturally, which is to stake a claim on what is right and shape it as the prize of their vanity.
The woman of Babylon is so much more than just another stupid whore, Arjuna; she is the left hand of receptivity, where she carries the secret map that reveals the movements of your enemy.
The wise serpent glorifies weakness the right way.

You are born with the shield of a conscience and with the mighty sword of your will power. To be good by instruction is still fake plastic servitude, but to be good by choice is the freeing result of an intuitive comprehension of Universal principles.
You are born with a conscience and it knows by instinct that wisdom assuredly is maturity’s natural inheritance.

Virtue, by its obvious nature, is virtuous. Only ignorance requires that a virtue be made of virtue.
To be perfectly clear, that stuff about virtue WAS a verbal spanking; true love does not nurture ignorance, and true compassion does not foster apathy.
For emphasis:
LOVE does NOT nurture ignorance *spank*
COMPASSION does NOT foster apathy *spank*
...and yes, all this is an effort to stretch your attention-span.

As every true healer knows, pain is the seed of gratitude, and humility is wisdom lubricant.

The part of you I love is the part of you that knows how to love, so BE understanding in this moment when I don’t apologize for trying to wreck the peace of mind of your duplicity.
YOU ARE A CONSCIOUS MIRACLE!

Like the roots of a strong tree, one necessary half of all enlightened things only grow in the dark.

The sacred gift that the Devil gave is the knowledge of good and evil, without this gift we human animals operate on emotional instinct alone, completely ignorant of how NOT to live.
"Sympathy" is emotional deception; "Empathy" is perceptive integrity ...think about it, you could learn a lot from the Devil if you put yourself in His shoes, rather than reacting defensively or offendedly and being swept away by fear or desire or any other childish emotion with which your sympathy has been trained to eagerly identify.

So how do you kill the Devil? Well, the darkness of who we really are isn’t all that scary when the light of our right mind shines brightly.
All that is natural belongs to Nature; all that is good belongs to God. It's important to respect our host and give the credit to our Maker, otherwise the image we create is just make-up painted on a faker.
Until you purify your receptive side your flesh will never be the virgin bride of the wise Savior of your mind.
It is said that a man is the head of a woman, and the "Truth" of this belongs to all of us equally, but "telling the truth" is an assertive practice, and assertiveness is a masculine quality, so if you have not the courage and integrity to tell the truth of what we lack as a society, then you ARE the prostitute profiting from the weakness of huManity.
It is not wise to capitalize on the ignorance of your own kind.

Are you SURE it’s wise to rely on the counsel of your social conditioning?
We have only to shift our eyes and see wisdom in the inward direction opposite of what's trendy among us.
There once was a time in our legitimate linage when intellection and metaphor comprehension were general conditions of our social character, and there's a legitimate reason that time is known as the Enlightened Era.
EMPATHY is is the key to our true history, and the cure for a meaningful legacy.
We're taught to believe that men aren't nearly as insightful, but what does your intuition tell you?
At a certain spot on the path all the signs are seriously subtle.
Honor thy Mother with the fruit of your receptivity; honor thy Father by choosing wisely what you are receptive to.
Somewhere in the words is a simple philosophy that's free to love ...but don't take my word for it; think for your SELF and set your future free.

There are plenty of cool things about living in the convenient plastic age, but what is the price that we pay?
Whether you're aware of it or not, we all contribute to, and are affected by, collective consciousness. Sorry to break the news to your selfish ego, but it's not about YOU, it's about what WE are becoming.
There’s a HUGE disparity between what’s right and what’s "normal", and that’s because enough generations now have grown-up without a wise example to help them bridge the psychological gap between the conscience inside and the social expectations outside. Discernment, healthy boundaries, intelligent self control, being the boss of impulses and reckless emotions, a comprehensive understanding of the light and dark of human nature …these are the diligent duties of the responsible father.
Wisdom IS integrity, and instruction is the integral duty of the truly wise.

That which is born of ignorance is ignorant; the prodigal victim of an inherited habit of delinquency, and there are PLENTY of delinquents already.
You are so much more than the idiot utility of future weakness.
The facts in the past is where fear grows fat, sucking on the milk of your sentiment and sympathy.
Bravely open the door of true masculinity and step out of your mommy's house and into integrity.
Pick the weeds from your garden, because until you KNOW the right way to love, all that you grow will be served back to you by the left hand of Nature.
The justified victim will ALWAYS need a responsible villain, and the last thing we need is more victims and villains.
Emotion tamed is intuition
The intellect humbled is reason
Reason and intuition together are wisdom
There is no wisdom more profound than innocence comprehended
When mother's so love their children as to make of wisdom a breed-worthy virtue we will once again live in the light, in the meantime, wisdom is the junk-food of those who are what they eat.

Remember the trick that parables play, OH, and that thing about empathy and history?
If you are defensive and offended by the words of wisdom then you TAKE only what is bad from me, and what is good passes through you like junk-food. If you GIVE what is good to the mud at your feet then you are one of the lost offspring of Ham, who TOOK only what was bad from the vast wisdom of his father and GAVE only what was bad to the generations of his children.
Those who are swine have not a hope of the light in their lifetime, and they thrive by consuming pearls as slop, thus they serve to richly fertilize this earth and they serve even the servants by way of an impossibly ignorant example.

It's important to get all the puzzle pieces in their right place, and there's an important reason that Religion and Philosophy are such legitimate pillars of our cultural history ...how many thousands of years worth of human profundity does it take to shake awake a modern age?
If mocking moral institutions is comfortable for you, as is devaluing masculinity, and meaningless sex, and trivial acquaintances, and generally cheapening your conscience and character, then you've no doubt found a confident way to integrate in modern society, and to you I must seem like the dirty damned Devil himself.
Let my words be as food to the hungry.

So am I the Devil's advocate trying to tempt you with a bite out of apathy?
Well, maybe, but the term "free will" implies that you are conscious of a choice, and like a fork-tongued serpent coiled up a metaphoric tree, I'm trying to cut you free of your puppet strings.
I'm not here to tell you that you're wrong, I hope to see how right you can be.
There's a literal UNIVERSE of difference between confidence and conviction, but they appear the same when a mind is trained to worship only what keeps it the same.

“Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”

Just like you, I'm on a journey, and just like you my words are a breadcrumb evidence of the path that I took. I know I'm fumbling my long-winded way through bitterness and hypocrisy, but God, I would LOVE to speak intelligently with conscientious folks who empathize with my motive because a perpetual-growth-perspective is the wedding gift their Mother gave them.

Well, if you made it this far I salute you, and if your wizened mind didn't need the spanking, then I humble myself at the feet of all that your kinship can teach me.
Thanks for letting me practice stirring the soul of conscious human potential.
-Best a luck out there!
8 people found this helpful
KarenReviewed in the United States on March 16, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fun. Funny but not In A Laugh - Out - Loud Kind of Way
Verified purchase
The plot revolves around a cynical, depressed monster and a young journalist. The journalist finds out that the monster has apparently killed three other journalists from her news outlet, who tracked him down to interview him. One of the dead journalists was her fiancee', the only person she had in the world because her family is dead. She volunteers to pursue the story herself, and I won't provide any spoilers from there.
After I watched this, I found out it was panned by critics, and so my positive review might not represent general opinion. But I thought this was imaginative, different, engaging, and very humorous although not in a laugh-out-loud way. Although I didn't laugh, I thought it was clever almost all the way through. The only thing I didn't like was the ending, which felt like a bit of a cop-out, like nobody could think of anything better so it just ended.
The first sequence, featuring the monster I found a bit baffling because I didn't have the context yet to understand where the movie was going. The second sequence, introducing the journalist, was where I started to really enjoy the film. If it's still falling flat for you after that, you probably won't enjoy the rest either.
4 people found this helpful
Avid readerReviewed in the United States on March 31, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
We produce news
Verified purchase
Dame Helen Mirren plays the boss of a ruthless news organization, more a propaganda company than seeking to produce news. She is a wise cracking chain smoker who will do anything to grab attention of viewers. In the company is Beatrice, who is a new journalist who finds a chance to go to Iceland to find out what happened to Jim, her fiancé. She manages to get a ticket, but due to lots of turmoil in the world, is first diverted to Brussels. The plane crashes, and she is the only survivor, very seriously injured. Finding a chance for news, Dame Mirren flies to Iceland, seeking to exploit the situation. She says Beatice has worked for them ‘forever’ while it was only five months. Beatice doesn’t go along, even being threatened to have no health care coverage if she didn’t. In her quest to find out what happened to Jim, she makes her way to find the ‘monster’ and she is not intimidated by him. The monster cannot be killed, and has lived forever and wants to die. Only one person knows how that might be possible (Dr. Artaud), so Beatrice get a pledge that she will find Dr. Artaud if the monster promises not to kill anyone. Meanwhile, Dame Mirren has plans to make maximum publicity out of the whole thing, which turns off Beatrice. So will Beatrice be able to bring closure for the monster? It leaves open just what the monster was doing living where he did, as the inside of the building is filled with a lot of scientific gear and modern equipment needing electricity, while on the northern edge of Iceland, where few live, and no roads. But it really is more a parable about what humans have evolved into and where they are headed.
One person found this helpful
Gumby8Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Wanted to like it, but....
Verified purchase
The soundtrack is weird and not in a good way. Like it's for a different film.
I don't even know if there was a purpose to the long, drawn out medical scenes because the monster's voice and dialogue were sooooooo annoying I couldn't take it anymore.
Every scene is so dull!! Like you can feel an impending pointless reveal.
I don't like to be so harsh about people's work, but Come On Man!!!!
4 people found this helpful
The Tally HoReviewed in the United States on July 23, 2017
1.0 out of 5 stars
Review without Spoiler - Pros & Cons
Verified purchase
No Such Thing was huge disappointment for me, and I am surprised at how high the reviews for this film were, so who knows you may like it. Here are the Pros and Cons to this movie as i see it:
Pros:
Some of the cinematography of Iceland is nice, and makes me miss the beauty of Iceland and hiking there.
Sarah Polley is stunning, especially in her leather dress.
The plot warns of the monster of corporations, media, and government and how we enable them.
Cons:
The acting is poor and not believable, considering there is talent in this group, I would have to blame this on poor directing.
The begining of the film stars off very slowly.
The movie does not flow well.
This film and acting is in no way believable on any level and even though I like dark humour, I do not find any in this film.
11 people found this helpful
CustomerReviewed in the United States on February 21, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Reminds me of Far Side Comics. A little too outrageous and simple at the same time.
Verified purchase
An interesting take on monsters and gods. It is really a story about innocence first. It has a ton of psychological themes. The scariest thing in the world can turn out to not be scary. Some may be offended that he seems a bit like the Christian Satan, and they can't wrap their mind around the fact that he may agree to something to get something. It isn't really that complicated. It's a bit like a far side comic.
2 people found this helpful
Christopher BatioReviewed in the United States on November 16, 2015
2.0 out of 5 stars
Check out the dress, ignore the rest!
Verified purchase
I so wanted to like this movie. Hal Hartley is a great director whose films "Trust" and "The Unbelievable Truth" are two of my favorites; Helen Mirren is one of the finest actresses ever and Sarah Polley is a real talent that I am just beginning to appreciate. So very much to recommend but, wow, what a letdown! First off, the acting is extremely mannered, almost like a play, and the script is awkward and frankly really confusing. For example, why have Sarah Polley's character be the sole survivor of a plane crash and spend months in a hospital in Iceland when she was going there anyway to investigate a "monster" that supposedly killed her fiancée. This sidestep in the plot seems to exist only to provide Julie Christie with a small role as a motherly doctor who doesn't do much of anything. And that "monster," who supposedly has been eating people and being generally nasty for thousands of years, he magically agrees to follow Sarah back to a huge metropolis (despite the fact that he says he hates noise, people and crowds) on the slim chance that her TV network might know a way to find the guy who could finally allow him to die. The rest plays out like Hartley took the last half of Crocodile Dundee, substituted a monster for an Australian and called it a movie. I only give this two stars because the dress Sarah Polley wears (which you see on the cover of the DVD) is truly spectacular. It's the only redeeming reason to see this film.
5 people found this helpful
THowertonReviewed in the United States on July 16, 2012
4.0 out of 5 stars
Beauty & the beast; angel & the devil; humanism & religion. Pick your poison.
Verified purchase
What is Hal Hartley's "No Such Thing"? A wonderfully weird, subdued, funny and surrealistic modern day fable. The movie as such involves our protagonist/ heroine Beatrice (played almost blankly by Sarah Polley) who is beset by a variety of odd life situations. She begins as the woman who has seemingly lost her fiancee to his death at the hands of some Shakespearian monster. Despite being employed by a facilic news magazine she manages to convince her boss to send her out to find out the story behind her fiancee's disappearance. On her quest her flight is downed over the ocean and all survivors are deemed lost. But Beatrice by some miracle survives and is hauled out of the water. She is broken and bruised and may never be able to walk again until surgeons come in and say that a procedure, one that would require her to be awake during the operation and that itself could kill her, could help her walk again with a successful surgery. Without poring over it much Beatrice agrees and goes through the painful experience; she blacks out during it. However, she survives and within a year she has made remarkable progress and can walk again. At this time she has been abandoned by her employer and so, in continuing her journey, continues it through the kindness of strangers (in Iceland no less). She ends up at the village in this far off land where a handful of people live in vigilance and fear of the monster and they tell her tales and they...get her drunk...and they then essentially offer her as a sacrifice to the beast. This is roughly the first half of the movie. The latter half finds Beatrice getting to know the beast (masterfully played by Robert John Burke, probably best known as Bart Bass in the TV series "Gossip Girl"), a mythologic creature who suffers insomnia and wild, damning headaches and who if he is to be believed has been around almost since the beginning of the world. The beast is beastly: he terrorizes people; he's generally a grouch; he kills people; he's a drunk; he's a loner; and he's contemptuous of humanity. Oh, and he's immortal. This immortality is the bane of his existence as he wishes to die. Though he can't die he has found one man, a scientist who is also a bit of a lunatic, who knows how to kill him. So Beatrice, having sympathy for this poor soul, suffers his rages and promises him that she will help him find the scientist so that he can be put out of his misery. Death with dignity and all that. The two then go on their quest and overcome their obstacles, including the beast being duped and becoming the subject of military experiments that cause him excruciating agony and from which he cannot die, until they abscond with the lunatic scientist who does his thing and sets the beast up to die. Beatrice kisses him just prior to his execution. And, as the execution commences, the screen goes dark and so ends this movie that will make many people scream and rip their hair out at this point.

Wonderfully filmed and acted (some of the actors chew their scenery as if they are characters out of a comic strip while others, such as Julie Christie's Dr. Anna, are warm and calm and even understated) this movie is not about spelling anything out for you. It is a story with a variety of elements thrown in and it lets you determine what it all means. After watching it (I enjoyed it and found it thought provoking while my wife said that she wished she could get that two hours of her life back) one of the things that puzzled me was why half of the movie was devoted to Beatrice's journey and the oddities thereof. This has led me to my conclusions about what I think this film is about. Read on if you want to know!

The name of Beatrice means something to the effect of "voyager through life". That our heroine certainly was: a voyager or traveler. She didn't present with a sense of knowing her destination and the story gave us essentially nothing in regards to her origin. For all intents and purposes she "is". And she is also our "everyman" and perhaps the epitome of humanity at or near its humanistically proposed apex: a being of conscience, care, and concern who holds no misplaced malice or serviceable judgment against that which is different or even ought not to be, or for that which is artifice. Beatrice is the angelic version of humanity, gilded with a divinity in and of itself, and not a divinity that is transferred onto it by that which is not or is unreal (such as God). [Mind you, these are my thoughts about what I think the movie is getting at. I am not saying that I believe this hogwash.] The purpose of the first half of the movie is to establish a couple of things: (1) the person of Beatrice, a woman who is open to the world and life's journey and is not interested in controlling it but is also sympathetic to the needs of what amounts to stark difference, to that which can not be (otherwise known as "the beast"), and to not hold it in contempt but to value it enough that she is able to let it pass on under its own authority and need to do so and (2) having Beatrice go through so many odd, coincidental, horrific, and even disillusioning events and yet still come out unchanged in spirit and undaunted in current purpose (seeking to find out what happened to her betrothed--someone whom we never feel she felt especially warm or attached to) may be a metaphor for humankind going through its lifespan and surviving wild, cataclysmic events and yet still coming out of them essentially unchanged in spirit and undaunted in current purpose (for the humanist that would be in humankind's ever-upward-evolution toward our fulfillment in magnanimousness). Beatrice's journey, fraught with wild peril and helped in unparralleled fashion, was extremely important to show in that it gave a sense of mankind's internal divinity and ability to survive and overcome. (As I said, this is a modern day fable.)

The character of "the beast", this immortal and mythological creature who has watched us "climb up out of the primordial ooze" and who has terrorized and ultimately grown tired of us throughout the ages, seems to characterize man's artificial attempts to create meaning and purposes for our lives. This would include the summation of the world's religions and philosophies under its umbrella of erroneous beliefs. These beliefs, then, are not to be judged or to be rejected. No. And Beatrice does not judge the beast (who killed her fiancee and friends) and she does not reject him (she won't run away from him and attempts to soothe and understand him and she listens to his rants). But what of these beliefs, these affronts to the humanistic idea of the insular divinity of man? Well, mankind at its apex is magnanimous and so will allow these beliefs to be/ remain if they should choose or to die if they should recognize their inadequacy, their obsolescence, their non-reality. And what do we find Beatrice, that angelic virtue of humanism, do with the beast who is pained more and more by the ever-increasing noise of "information" and who cannot die, who cannot kill himself? She helps him find the one (I would underline that one if I could) answer, the one thing that can kill him, the one salvation: science (in the form of the lunatic scientist who spouses metaphysical mumbo jumbo). Yes! Science! That bastion of all things that are real! That noble endeavor that mankind can turn to and find ultimate answers and ultimate truth in (as long as you include a healthy does of humanism too)! Science can kill off that which is not real nor ever was (religion and a variety of other philosophies). And it can do so, under the guidance of humanism, without disdain. (As I mentioned before it's a mercy killing really.)

And, finally, why does the film end in the fashion it does (without it showing us the actual successful annihilation of the beast or without it showing us what becomes of Beatrice)? It is because it is for us to decide. Humanistically speaking, humanism isn't going to force itself on anyone. We can keep the beast alive (and along with it all of our religious and philosophical beliefs and prejudices) or we can believe that he has died. We can learn from Beatrice, and show mercy, compassion, and love to even the hideous and non-real or we can choose to believe that she went back to work for her gossip magazine. It is up to us. That's one thing this movie gets right. A great movie for its ingenious presentation of some very thought provoking subject matter in a modern fable that still keeps us entertained along the way. This is probably one of Joseph Campbell's favorite movies of all time. I wonder what he thinks it's about?

P.S. If you read all of this? Thank you!
15 people found this helpful
See all reviews