The monster film directed by Hal Hartley, No Such Thing, is released

It Happened on
March 29, 2002

No Such Thing is ‘a marvelous and under-appreciated cinematic revision of the Anglo-Saxon epic’; ‘the satire of No Such Thing focuses not on our remnant fear of traditional monsters, but on our numb-headed failure to fear the functional monsters our large and exploitative corporations can become—and on those of us who allow them (by watching them or paying them or simply not resisting them) to do so.’ – E. L. Risden, American scholar, linguist, poet, and writer.

Our story begins with a young woman named Beatrice, who works for a telly network under a woman known only as The Boss. One day, she receives a recording from her fiancé Jim, who’s gone to Iceland to investigate a monster. Yes, you heard me right – a monster! Determined to find her man, Beatrice convinces her boss to send her to Iceland. But, as luck would have it, her plane crashes and she’s left as the sole survivor.

Now, this is where things get a bit…weird. You see, in order to walk again, Beatrice undergoes a radical surgery that’s downright painful. But, as luck would have it, she makes a friend in Dr. Anna, who helps her travel to the remote village where the monster lives.

But, as luck would have it (again), the villagers aren’t too pleased with Beatrice’s arrival. They strip her down and leave her as an offering to the monster himself, who’s an old, foul-mouthed, alcoholic beast that’s seen better days. Beatrice doesn’t show him any fear though, and he tells her that he’s killed her friends and might just kill her too.

The monster also reveals that he wants to die, but he’s indestructible. So, Beatrice does the only thing she can think of – she offers to help him find a mad scientist named Dr. Artaud, who’s discovered a way to kill him. But, before they can do that, they have to make a stop in New York City.

Now, here’s where things really start to get crazy. The monster becomes a celebrity (yes, you heard me right again) and the Boss stages a media frenzy. They eventually find Dr. Artaud, but he’s working for the government and they won’t let him go without a fight.

While Beatrice revels in the attention, the monster is miserable and drunk. He’s even subjected to torturous experiments by government scientists who want to figure out his secret to indestructibility. But, even with all of that, he holds true to his promise to Beatrice and doesn’t kill anyone.

Eventually, Beatrice and Dr. Artaud hatch a plan to escape back to Iceland with the monster. They make their getaway, but the government is hot on their heels. Dr. Artaud builds a machine that will finally kill the monster, but Beatrice has to say goodbye to her new friend before it’s too late.

As the machine starts up and the lights flicker, the monster and Beatrice share one last moment together. Her face flickers in his vision before the screen goes black.

And that, my friends, is the story of Beatrice and the monster. It’s a tale of adventure, friendship, and a bit of government intrigue. So, what do you think? Do you believe in monsters now?

People featured in this post:

Robert John Burke

American actor known for his roles in RoboCop 3

Sarah Polley

3] writer, director, producer and political activist

Hal Hartley

American film director and screenwriter (Henry Fool)

Helen Mirren

English actor