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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

DVD mashup: two David Hewlett flicks

The Stargates will return to Sci Fi Fridays next month, but till then, if you 1) acknowledge that David Hewlett’s snarky and arrogant Dr. Rodney McKay is the best thing about Stargate Atlantis, and 2) need a geeky Hewlett fix, then you’ve gotta check out the 2003 Canadian film Nothing, from Vincenzo Natali, the guy who made the seriously freaky Cube. I’m tempted to say as close to nothing about Nothing as possible, because it’s freaky in a way similar to Cube (though not at all gory), which is to say that it is more disturbing, and in the case of Nothing, more funny, the less you know in advance. Maybe it’s enough to say that Dave (Hewlett) and Andrew (Andrew Miller) are two dorks who live together in a ramshackle Toronto house that’s like something Terry Gilliam might dream about, but, being dorkishly antisocial, they don’t have a lot of use for the rest of the world. And they wake up one morning after a particularly uncomfortable run-in with the rest of the world to find that it’s gone. The world, that is. Or maybe they’ve been transported somewhere else where the world isn’t.

I’ve probably already said too much. It’s all deliciously Twilight Zoney, which would be enough for many a geek, but the bonus of Hewlett’s performance — as a too-smart, too-weird guy who gets what he wishes for and then is sorry he got it… maybe — is what makes Nothing a must-see. His fidgety energy animates Dave’s misanthrophy so that you identify with it at the same time you want to give him a smack — Hewlett creates a screen presence that you just can’t help but love even when he’s being an annoying little shit.

And that’s the case with his character, Bryan, in the 2004 Canadian film Ice Men — it’s one of those “let’s get the guys together for the weekend in a remote cabin so we can learn all sorts of stuff about one another we wish we never learned” dramas, and Hewlett is the best thing in it. Whether he’s digging through the collection of old vinyl record albums in the cabin and discovering some groovy bachelor music or in the middle of a sex scene that’s actually funny, Hewlett is dedicated to the character, with all his flaws and frustrations, in a way that, unfortunately, mostly shows up the rest of the cast. For Hewlett fans, though, it’s catnip.

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Nothing
IMDB | buy at Amazon

Ice Men
IMDB | buy at Amazon



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