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Nothing
Reviewed by Rick Klaw, © 2005

Format: Movie
By:   Vincenzo Natali
Genre:   Nothing, I say. NOTHING!
Released:   October 25, 2005 (DVD release)
Review Date:   October 14, 2005
Audience Rating:   R
RevSF Rating:   5/10 (What Is This?)

David and Andrew are two losers, dysfunctional childhood friends living together in Andrew's family home, which happens to be in a clearing between two freeways. Full of visions of grandeur, David can't keep a job or a girlfriend. The extremely agoraphobic Andrew can't leave the house. Through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, their home is about to be destroyed and both men thrown in jail. They have had enough and wish everything would cease to exist. Suddenly there is nothing.

Almost. The confused duo -- along with their home (and everything within) -- find themselves in an endless expanse of white emptiness. After the initial confusion, they set out to explore their new reality, only to discover they are truly the only two living creatures in this existence -- actually, three: Andrew's pet turtle made the trip.

A humorous interpretation of Geoff Murphy's under-appreciated film The Quiet Earth, Nothing explores what it would be like to be the last two people. They watch cable (there is a funny scene where Andrew wonders if they are dead. David replies "We can't be dead. We have cable."), play video games, search for food, argue, and ultimately uncover how they got there. . . . but not where "there" is.

One of the most difficult things to portray is stupidity. Andrew and David come across as too intelligent, even with their neuroses, to allow the events that unfold in this story. The climatic scene is ludicrous beyond the point of absurd. There is an obvious out, and although the characters seem smart enough to figure it out, perhaps the screenwriters were not. A better ending would have gone a long way to making this a great film.

Director Vincenzo Natali, the brainchild behind the surrealist cult film Cube, enters the extensional angst-ridden world usually reserved for the likes of Charlie Kaufman (screenwriter of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), but fails to achieve the same level of success. Sadly, Nothing for the most part is just an unfunny mess.

Nothing is not a horrible film, or even a bad one, just a mediocre movie. There is much to appreciate: An interesting concept, some funny bits, good acting, and above-average direction. But add them together and you have, well, nothing.

Contributing editor Rick Klaw knows you can't get something from nothing.

 
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