IMDb > No Such Thing (2001)
No Such Thing
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No Such Thing (2001) More at IMDbPro »

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No Such Thing -- Writer Director Hal Hartley takes a humorous and satirical look at a society concerned only with instant gratification and voyeuristic sensationalism.  Disgusted with human evolution, a foul-mouthed Monster (Robert Burke) kills anyone who crosses his path. When news crew sent to investigate the Monster disappears, a guileless young woman (Sarah Polley) dispatched to follow up on the story befriends the Monster and becomes his only hope in ending his life of misery.


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Hal Hartley (written by)
View company contact information for No Such Thing on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 November 2002 (Iceland) See more »
A modern day fable.
"No Such Thing" tells the story of a young journalist who journeys to Iceland to find her missing fiancée only to encounter a mythical creature. She eventually forges a relationship with the being. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Hartley Fans Rejoice! See more (75 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Margrét Ákadóttir ... Rental Agent
Julie Anderson ... Beautician
Anna Kristín Arngrímsdóttir ... Sólveig
Ilene Bergelson ... Ethel
Guðrún María Bjarnadóttir ... Marta (as Guðrún Bjarnadóttir)
Bessi Bjarnason ... Captain
Helgi Björnsson ... Leó

Robert John Burke ... The Monster

Julie Christie ... Dr. Anna
Stacy Dawson ... Mugger

Maria Ellingsen ... Karlsdóttir / Gate Manager (as María Ellingsen)

Anthony Giangrande ... Journalist

Erica Gimpel ... Judy
Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson ... First Mate
Brynhildur Guðjónsdóttir ... Ticket Clerk
Baldvin Halldórsson ... Jón
Björn Ingi Hilmarsson ... Smuggler
Jón Hjartarson ... Mayor
Baldur T. Hreinsson ... Johansen (as Baldur Trausti Hreinsson)
Bergur Þór Ingólfsson ... Smuggler
Theodór Júlíusson ... Borg
Sigurveig Jónsdóttir ... Gréta
Björn Jörundur Friðbjörnsson ... Þór (as Björn Jörundur)

Kristbjörg Kjeld ... Nurse Joan

Baltasar Kormákur ... Artaud
Paul Lazar ... Fred
Daniel C. Levine ... Pissing Kid
Paul Liberti ... Journalist

D.J. Mendel ... Agent

Helen Mirren ... The Boss
Miho Nikaido ... Beautician
David Neumann ... Agent (as David Nuemann)

Peter O'Hara ... Tom

Sarah Polley ... Beatrice

Annika Peterson ... Margaret

Abby Royle ... Scientist

Bill Sage ... Carlo

Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson ... Dr. Svendsen (as Ingvar Sigurðsson)
Guðrún Stephensen ... Mayor's Wife
Sigurður Skúlason ... Old Man
Jón Tryggvason ... Guide

James Urbaniak ... Concierge
Benham Valadbeygi ... Cook

Wendy Walker ... Journalist

Damian Young ... Berger

Directed by
Hal Hartley 
Writing credits
Hal Hartley (written by)

Produced by
Willi Bär .... executive producer (as Willi Baer)
Francis Ford Coppola .... executive producer
Friðrik Þór Friðriksson .... producer (as Fridrik Thor Fridriksson)
Hal Hartley .... producer
Linda Reisman .... executive producer
Cecilia Kate Roque .... producer
Original Music by
Hal Hartley 
Cinematography by
Michael Alan Spiller  (as Michael Spiller)
Film Editing by
Steve Hamilton 
Production Design by
Árni Páll Jóhannsson 
Art Direction by
Ed Check 
Set Decoration by
Karin Wiesel  (as Karen Wiesel)
Costume Design by
Frank L. Fleming 
Helga I. Stefánsdóttir 
Makeup Department
Ragna Fossberg .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Kelley Cribben .... post-production supervisor
Shirley Davis .... production manager
Meryl Emmerton .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dan Brillman .... second second assistant director: New York
Gagga Jonsdottir .... second second assistant director
Michael Lerman .... first assistant director
Peter Thorell .... second assistant director
Art Department
Daniel Boxer .... property master
Dierdre Kane .... assistant property master: New York
Julian Ledger .... creature color concept sketches
Kori E. Wilson .... art department coordinator
Sound Department
Huldar Freyr Arnarson .... boom operator
David Boulton .... adr recordist
Marko A. Costanzo .... foley artist (as Marko Costanzo)
Steve Hamilton .... supervising sound editor
Kjartan Kjartansson .... sound mixer
Andy Kris .... sound effects editor
George A. Lara .... foley mixer
Jen Ralston .... sound effects editor (as Jennifer Ralston)
Ivan Samuel .... boom operator
Reilly Steele .... sound re-recording mixer
Ivan Sveinsson .... boom operator
Ivan Sveinsson .... boom operator (as Ivan Gonzalez)
Van Sveinsson .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Mark Bero .... special effects coordinator
Russ Herpich .... special effects assistant: Creature Effects Inc.
Eggert Ketilsson .... special effects technician
Mark Rappaport .... special makeup effects
Robert J. Scupp .... special effects foreman (as Bob Scupp)
Stefan Jorgen .... assistant special effects makeup (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Randall Balsmeyer .... visual effects supervisor
Julian Ledger .... creature effects
Matt McDonald .... visual effects
Dan Trezise .... compositor: Balsmeyer & Everett
Ric Anderson .... dive safety: second unit
Ric Anderson .... stunts
Douglas Crosby .... stunt coordinator
Valdimar Jóhannsson .... stunts
Andrew Lasky .... stunt performer
Brad Martin .... stunt performer
Brad Martin .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Brett Albright .... assistant camera
Bart Blaise .... second assistant camera
Michael Caracciolo .... camera operator
Tim Davies .... grip
Robert K. Feldmann .... key grip
Doug Meils .... shooting electric
Storn Peterson .... assistant camera
Graham Rutherford .... gaffer
Ingvar Stefánsson .... electrician
Frank Stubblefield .... chief lighting technician
Richard Sylvarnes .... still photographer: Iceland
Demmie Todd .... still photographer: New York
Casting Department
Kristine Bulakowski .... extras casting
Fahad Falur Jabali .... extras casting
Driss Tijani .... extras casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Marian Toy .... assistant costume designer
Editorial Department
Erin Crackel .... apprentice editor
Jeff Drury .... first assistant editor
Armando Fente .... assistant editor (as Armando Fente Jr.)
Adam Geiger .... assistant editor
Chris Patterson .... assistant editor
Dave Pultz .... color timer
James Nichols Jr. .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Other crew
Susan Paley Abramson .... assistant: Linda Reisman (as Susan Abramson)
Lisa D. Carey .... payroll accountant
John 'JR' Craigmile .... accountant
Arnar Einarsson .... assistant location manager
Patrick Floyd .... set production assistant
Mary Gambardella .... script supervisor: New York
Fahad Falur Jabali .... location manager
Shannon Lail .... production executive
Heather Neeld .... assistant production coordinator
Andy Russ .... assistant: Hal Hartley
Jonathan Shepard .... location manager: New York
Sharon Watt .... production assistant
Annie Young Frisbie .... assistant to producers (as Annie Young)
Harpa Elísa Þórsdóttir .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for language and brief violence
102 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG | Iceland:L (original rating) | Iceland:LH (video rating) | Netherlands:12 | USA:R | USA:TV-14 (cable rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Robert John Burke described to Fangoria Magazine that he once decided to walk through downtown NYC in his Monster make-up, and no one gave him a second glance.See more »
Plot holes: It is never explained why a reclusive Icelandic Monster should speak English with an American accent. Maybe he absorbs the language of people he kills, but the issue is never addressed.See more »
The Monster:Nobody's afraid of me any more.
Beatrice:...I'm afraid of you
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Bride of Frankenstein (1935)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
15 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Hartley Fans Rejoice!, 9 July 2002
Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon

As individuals, or collectively as a society, what is it, exactly, that we are afraid of? Since the beginning of time, what has really been behind all those knee-jerk reactions that have brought us to where we are today? These are the questions posed (and answered) by writer/director Hal Hartley in `No Such Thing,' an often biting satire of the news media, the all-to-prevalent-in-our-society tabloid-type mentality and our response to the unknown, be it tangible or imaginary; a film that brings us face to face with fear and confronts it with humor, pathos and Hartley's own insightful and inimitable take on the human condition.

Some time after a three-man television news team disappears after being sent to Iceland to investigate reports of a `monster' living on a rock island just off the coast, the station receives a tape recording from someone claiming to be the monster himself, describing in graphic detail what he did with those dispatched to find and film him. `The Boss (Helen Mirren)' of the news department, in her quest to give the public the `worst news' possible, agrees to send another employee, Beatrice (Sarah Polley), to Iceland to follow up on it, since Beatrice was engaged to the cameraman of the crew gone missing.

After a temporary delay due to circumstances beyond her control, Beatrice finally makes it to Iceland, where she has to trek to a remote village on the coast (the final leg of which she has to walk, as even horses can't make it through). Once there, the locals tell their tales of the `monster,' who has apparently always been with them, and point out to her the rock upon which he is purported to live. And Beatrice finds herself at the point of no return; she has come this far, and now it's just a matter of getting some help from the villagers to get her across the channel to the rock-- and her encounter with this monster who is `changeless and eternal.'

As no one else can, Hal Hartley has crafted and delivered a film that is part `Beauty and the Beast,' part `Frankenstein,' part `Forbidden Planet,' and ALL Hartley. Unlike most films featuring a `monster,' Hartley does not keep his audience in suspense, but reveals his `man/beast' at the very beginning, as we see him making the tape he subsequently sends to the T.V. station. And he's an ugly spud (credit goes to Mark Rappaport for special effects makeup), unique among all of the monsters in cinematic history. Hartley's creation affects a John Wayne countenance, drinks too much and speaks perfect English (how this can be so is ultimately revealed). Hartley then layers one unexpected event upon another, using black comedy to present a scathing social commentary, incisively composed through his keen insights into human nature. The allegory of the tale is concealed in who this monster really is, and what he wants, and it brings to mind Dr. Morbius and the secrets of the Krell.

Absent in this film is the trademark cadence Hartley generally has his actors employ through a very deliberate delivery of their lines, and it is missed, as it is one of the elements that makes his films so engaging, creating as it does a fairly hypnotic effect (similar to the method employed by David Mamet in his films). Still, the Hartley magic is alive and well, and by keeping his volatile monster front and center throughout the film, rather than as a mysterious entity hidden in the shadows to whom he merely alludes, he succeeds in keeping his audience totally involved. Hartley is also a master of `thinking outside the box,' which enables him to offer entirely unique perspectives on the human condition and this thing we call `life'; you never know where he's going to take you, which is another reason why his films are so engaging (as this one certainly is). He knows how to make that all-important connection with his audience, but he chooses to do it indirectly, offering thought-provoking scenarios in a way that gives his viewer the option of coming on board or standing by while the ship sails; a kind of `you can lead a horse to water,' proposition that most filmmakers would not have the courage to employ. Keep in mind, though, that once you hit the deck with Hartley, the rewards are many and great.

Working with Hartley for the first time, Sarah Polley proves to be a quick study in all things Hartley; in creating Beatrice, she demonstrates an innate grasp of his methods, and most importantly, what it is he is attempting to accomplish through his characters. And this has to be a challenge to any actor; just as not every actor can work with Woody Allen because of his approach, it would seemingly be difficult with Hartley because of his unique perspectives. Whatever the case may be, Polley succeeds splendidly, presenting a convincing character who is decidedly all `Hartley.'

Helen Mirren, too, demonstrates her versatility and consummate professionalism by falling into Hartley's rhythms with apparent facility. The role of `The Boss' is something of a departure for Mirren, but she immerses herself in the character with gusto and makes The Boss believable. And she seems to be enjoying herself immensely in doing so. A terrific actor, she's a joy to watch in this one.

As the monster, Hartley regular Robert John Burke steals the show by creating a monster that is so stunningly atypical; this beast has a fearless swagger and the wisdom of millennia to back it up. Burke readily conveys his disdain for human beings with terms and a tone that fairly drips with cynicism, and it is in his portrayal that we find both the real humor and the pathos of the film.

The supporting cast includes Baltasar Kormakur (Artaud), Julie Christie (Dr. Anna) and Stacy Dawson (Mugger). Off-beat and entertaining, `No Such Thing' is a unique experience that is going to make you think a bit. 9/10.

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What was the point of (Spoiler?) Papadisc
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Better in repeat viewings? bringonthelucie
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This is a waste of everyone's time klemm1
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