A group of teenage classmates face an existential crisis, pushing them into darker and darker territory as they confront the meaninglessness of life.
In NOTHING, the kids are not all right. A seventh-grade boy has an existential crisis, decides that everything in life is purposeless, and climbs up a tree. His classmates try everything to get him down, including pelting him with rocks, but with no success. As his outlook on life slowly becomes contagious, his classmates create a “heap of meaning” to prove him wrong, each offering sacrifices that have deep personal meaning to them. It starts off with superficial donations — a pair of shoes, a fishing rod, assorted teenage knickknacks — but soon the sacrifices take a more demanding and far darker turn. The adults around them are at a loss to explain or alleviate the existential despair the kids are feeling, and as the extreme measures the classmates take to just feel something, or anything, NOTHING grows dark with dread with every passing minute. Sitting somewhere between LORD OF THE FLIES and the works of Larry Clark, the film is based on the Danish young adult novel by Janne Teller, which caused a sensation upon its release in 2010 and is now an obligatory read in Denmark. The film adaptation maintains this oppressive, overwhelming tone of despair which descends into brutality — made even more unsettling because the perpetrators and the victims are all children. (ANNA BOGUTSKAYA)