Nimic Review: Yorgos Lanthimos impresses with another baffling work
Like all of Lanthimos' directorials, Nimic is a film whose meaning is elusive and packs a lot in under 12 minutes
Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos has returned with yet another enigmatic work. This time it's a short film, Nimic, streaming currently on Mubi. Like all of his directorials, it's a film whose meaning is elusive. Lanthimos packs a lot in under 12 minutes.
Matt Dillon plays a cellist, let's call him the man, who begins his seemingly normal day, and then he gets inside the metro and something happens. Across him is seated a woman (Daphne Patakia) to whom he asks, "Do you have the time?" She doesn't seem to pay attention to this. A while later, she repeats the same question back at him. Nothing about her behaviour suggests that she is trying to imitate him. It's as if she is asking the question because she really wants to know the time as he did a while back.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Matt Dillon, Daphne Patakia, Susan Elle
Streaming on: Mubi
The man gets out of the metro and walks to his home. The woman follows. He opens the door with a key with a smiley on it. A minute later, the woman gets into his house using the same key. We then find the man's wife (Susan Elle) looking at her husband and the woman. Or is she looking at just one of them? Because both are uttering the same lines. Later, we see the woman doing everything the man has been doing. There are no lines spoken through any of these moments. Without spoiling anything, the climax finds the man once again in the metro, this time experiencing a completely different, much stranger situation.
The usual Lanthimos trademarks can be found in Nimic — jarring music, disorienting camera angles, and bizarre behaviour. Nimic could be about inclusivity or the fear of change. Is the man being simply asked about the time or is it more of an internal question hinting at his personal life? Nimic brings to mind Lanthimos' earlier films, Alps and The Lobster, which also dealt with 'replacement', but of a different variety.
The title credits have a letter missing from each name. The main title could be a variation on 'Mimic', with one letter replaced by another, just like how the main character is replaced by another. A Google search reveals that it's a Romanian word which either means 'anything' or 'nothing'. This can be said of the film as well.