NOTHING (2003)
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: A morality tale with a word of warning about getting everything you desire. Vincenzo Natali, best known for CUBE and the current SPLICE tell the story of two boys who are the constant victims of all ages who suddenly find they have the ability to make their wishes come true. Director Natali wrote the story with the two actors who star. This is a very dark comedy. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

NOTHING is available from NetFlix.

Vincenzo Natali could well be a major talent of Canadian cinema and perhaps even international cinema. Previously he made CUBE and CYPHER. As of this writing his SPLICE is in theaters. In between CYPHER and SPLICE he has made NOTHING.

NOTHING starts as a comedy but soon becomes an original fantasy. And few films we see really are so original. Andrew and David (played by Andrew Miller and David Hewlett) have been the picked on by others since they were boys. They have formed a strong friendship and an alliance based on self-defense. Together they live a really ugly house (uh, half a house), apparently right under a freeway. Life is not great, but at least they have each other.

But the time has come to break their partnership and for each to go his own way. David has a girl and is going to move in with her. Or so he thinks. In one day each has his world fall apart. David loses his job, and discovers he never had a girl to lose. David returns home. Meanwhile Andrew is wrongly accused of child molestation, David of embezzlement, and the city has determined to demolish David and Andrew's house. The locals are besieging the house throwing rocks through the windows. The two are left cowering on the floor. When suddenly...

There is a white flash and after it Andrew and David hear nothing. Cautiously they step outside the door and find the reason they are hearing nothing is that that is what now surrounds their house. Nothing. Beyond the property line there is a great white expanse of nothing. Alex and David have been given the ability to wish things out of existence and everything outside the foundations of their house is gone. It seems that Andrew and David have the power to erase things from reality very much like the ability that the little boy had in the "Twilight Zone" episode "It's a Good Life." And if nothing else, the film will at least show the bad end that that little boy probably had. This is a premise that rates about a B+. But Natali is quite clever in his search for implications of this strange power.

Natali's script is constantly inventive in finding implications of this power. NOTHING has the dimensions of allegory in among other things being a story that dissects human behavior and the nature of aggression. The special effects used are not expensive, but the plot allows them to be used very effectively.

This is a unique fantasy that has not been found yet by it audience, but will be enjoyed when it is found. I rate it a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Note: NOTHING is a very inconvenient title for a film. "What did you see last night?" "NOTHING." "Then where *did* you go?"

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2010 Mark R. Leeper