No Such Thing

A brooding, hard-drinking, murderous monster (Robert John Burke) who’s older than humanity, which he despises, and yearns for his own destruction is brought from the wilds of Iceland to New York City by a young woman (Sarah Polley) working for a crass TV producer (Helen Mirren); the only person who can destroy him, a mad scientist named Dr. Artaud (Baltasar Kormakur), is also being held in New York. Despite the heavy-handed media satire, apt but stridently expressed, Hal Hartley’s odd American-Icelandic coproduction (2001), on which Francis Ford Coppola served as an executive producer, has a witty, suggestive script and able performances. The probable reason it doesn’t work better is that its conceptiona kind of postmodernist spin on Frankenstein and King Kongseems more theatrical than cinematic, needing the kind of direct address that only a stage can provide. R, 103 min. (JR)

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