Friday, May 14, 2010

Den Brysomme Mannen (The Bothersome Man)

This Norwegian film (another award-winning offering from Film Movement ) was a pleasant surprise for me, oddly humorous, a little disturbing, and thoughtfully entertaining.  Coincidentally, there are some pretty strong parallels to The Prisoner, which I reviewed the other day here.  As in The Prisoner, our hero, Andreas, arrives in an ordinary, strangely familiar, yet a bit too perfect town.  He's given a perfect job, rewarding but not too demanding, surrounded by cheerful, friendly coworkers.  He meets a nice woman, with whom he develops a relationship.  All seems to be going well.

Soon things begin to seem too perfect and too lifeless at the same time.  Everyone is happy and cheerful, but no one really feels.  The food is tasteless.  The alcohol is not intoxicating.  And romance and sex are non-sensual.  When things get dull with his girlfriend, he strikes up a romance with a new woman.  Even though she does not reject him, however, she shows no feeling for him, and when he tells the first girl of his indiscretion, she replies with a yawn.  As the futility of it all dawns on him, he seeks to leave the city, but finds he can't, so he attempts suicide, ultimately unsuccessfully.

In a not-so-subtle way, The Bothersome Man reminds the viewer to take in that which makes life worth living, the flavors and joys of life, the uniqueness of people in our lives, and the importance of enjoying experiences and people.  We never really learn how or why Andreas ends up here, but that only adds to the mystery and draw of the film.  Highly recommended.

Bottom line, 3 stars.

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