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Nothing
Canada 2003
Directed by Vincent Natali
Running time 85 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3 stars


A film like Vincent Natali's Nothing is hard to categorise. The film retains the sci-fi elements of the director's previous efforts, Cube and Cypher, but adds a delicious slice of black humour, a quirky visual style and off-beat performances from the two leads, David Hewlett and Andrew Miller. The director's intent, to confound his audience as much as possible, is obvious from the opening credits. We flash through the boy's lives in a series of rapid-fire edits using animation as the filmmakers keep telling us that the back story did in fact really happen.

Two losers, Dave (Hewlett) and Andrew (Miller) have been friends forever; constantly battling against life as they are the butt of every practical joke, the victims of their alleged friends and even scheming girl guides. After a succession of terrible events the boys find themselves in a strange predicament, the world they once knew has vanished and been replaced by the blinding white expanses of Nothing. What has happened, where has everything gone and will Dave and Andrew figure out what they have done?

Miller also co-wrote the script with his writing partner, Andrew Lowery, collectively known as "The Drews", and is definitely a talent to watch. It's quite amazing that this imaginative script was written by the same duo who gave us Simon Sez starring Dennis Rodman!  Progress is definitely being made.

The film is full of wonderfully inventive visuals; flashbacks told in animated child's crayon drawings, the vision of Nothing as a bouncy "tofu-like" world, the effects of Andrew and Dave's bodies as they battle to remove everything they hate from each other. The mind-bending imagery gives the likes of Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry a run for their money (and in hindsight we can see pre-echoes of The Mighty Boosh). You'll be impressed by the visual originality of Nothing but looking past the technological display, it is the strength of the old friends' relationship that engages the viewer and what makes the film appealing.

 

 

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