Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #32: Nothing (2003) was a good try.

I rented Vincenzo Natali's Nothing for three reasons:

1. I liked the concept of the film.

2. I like to support Canadian film whenever I can.


3. Nothing's director, Vincenzo Natali is also responsible for Cube, which I liked a lot, and Splice, which I haven't seen, but am pretty curious about.

However, I'm going to have to say that Nothing didn't do it for me.

Overall, I think Nothing is a cool idea. When the film begins, our protagonists--roommates Andrew and Dave--are each having the worst day of all time. Dave loses his job and his girlfriend, practically before noon, and Andrew, a total recluse, accidentally locks himself out of the house.

Once the two regroup and get themselves inside, they barely have time for a collective sigh of relief before finding that their house is scheduled for demolition, and that they are both being sought after by police for crimes that are neither related to one another, nor in any way their fault.

It is at this point that, quite inexplicably, everything outside the walls of their house disappears.

Quite literally. What used to be the City of Toronto surrounding their home on all sides becomes empty white space, reminiscent of The Construct from The Matrix. (Or for those who haven't seen The Matrix enough times to get that reference, it's the empty white space where they get all their guns.)

Andrew and Dave are able to venture out into this great abyss, since the surface of the void is a bouncy, albeit invisible terrain, and after a while it becomes evident to both the characters and the audience that everything, everywhere, gone.

As I said before, it's a neat premise.

However, it may have been better suited to a short-film than a 90-minute feature.

As you can imagine, there's not a lot of places you can go when this is the concept of your movie. Nothing manages to survive on a gradually increasing conflict that occurs between the two main characters, but that survival doesn't make it good--it just makes ensures that the film can last the full hour and a half.

But even that's a bit long. The film gets tedious at times, and for a comedy, there's very little to laugh at--the characters are kooky, but they aren't particularly funny. Mostly, they're just odd.

Usually, you have one weirdo and one straight-man to make a comedic partnership like this work. However, with oddballs like Andrew and Dave, it's like watching a Costello and Costello routine...about nothing.

Overall, I'm glad I watched Nothing to satisfy my curiosity about where a filmmaker could take a concept like this.

Unfortunately, the answer is: "not far."

However, from a technical point of view, Nothing is really pretty cool. The effects used to portray the disappearance of things are pretty impressive, and the sound effects and many of the camera shots are exceptional.

But then again, Hollow Man and Titanic had cool effects too. 'Nuff said.

All in all, I wouldn't discourage anyone from renting Nothing--it isn't terrible, it just isn't great.

But if you're interested in it because it's a cool premise, a frank warning: that's essentially all it is.

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