Nothing Really Happens film review

★★★★

Directed by: #JustinPetty

Written by: #JustinPetty

Starring: #BobbyDornbos, #AdamEdwards, #JosephGraham, #LindsayGustin

Film Review by: #DarrenTilby



What can you say about a film that’s so bizarre, so fundamentally off balance and so messed up, that you’re still not entirely sure what has happened and what hasn’t after 100-minutes worth of film? Well, “can I watch it again?” obviously. And you will want to watch it again. And you absolutely should. Because if ever a film benefitted from repeated viewings, it’s Nothing Really Happens.


Mattress store owner, Dave Stimple (Adam Edwards) trudges through the monotony of everyday life: wake up, brush teeth, drop keys loudly to wake still-sleeping wife, go to work, come home, sleep, rinse and repeat. As the repetition of this daily grind leaves him feeling ever more disconnected from his friends and family, increasingly strange things begin to happen. And soon, Dave begins to doubt his own sanity.


Nothing Really Happens is a strange film with acute #absurdist qualities. But within its cast, we find its grounding. Adam Edwards strikes a sympathetic chord in the lead role of Dave Stimple, and Lindsay Gustin adds a compelling dynamic to Dave’s home life as Jess, his wife. Even the more outlandish characters of Randy, the neighbour (played by Bobby Dornbos) and Carl, Dave’s brother-in-law – a brilliant turn here from Joseph Graham – who is, for lack of a better word, a complete lunatic, are relatable in some way, to most people.


You also get a sense, from watching the film, that this was (is?) a close-knit team, who enjoyed a very friendly working relationship. And it makes sense. The film was in development for four-years, and most of the cast has several credits to their name: Justin Petty dealt with the writing, the editing and #cinematography, as well as directing. Joseph Graham acted as producer and sound editor as well as having a prominent (and hilarious) role in the movie. And, Adam Edwards also co-produced in addition to starring as the lead. In this case, I think this has worked in the film’s favour. I have no problems with any of the technical aspects of the film. And in fact, while watching the film, you get the most wonderful and endearing sense of intimacy.


Nothing Really Happens is a difficult film to categorise and won’t work for everyone. I suppose you’d call it a #sciencefiction #comedy? On the one hand, there are themes of mind manipulation and reality distortion, which seem to draw inspiration from films like #EternalSunshineoftheSpotlessMind (one of my absolute favourites) and #Inception. And on the other, there are humorous takes on the #mundanity of everyday life and our inability to #communicate effectively with one another. But this film will find its audience, and whatever you take away from it, the filmmakers are clearly very proud of their work—and so they should be. Want to know how proud? Just wait until the 'Special Thanks' section, where they give thanks to “ That greasy cokehead director guy at that one Texas film festival who told us we couldn’t make a movie in our spare time with no money.”


Isn’t that just the most wonderful “in your face” ever?