Hot chocolate, pussy, and burgers. Nothing has any taste in the Ikea commercial that passes for Norway in Jens Lien’s The Bothersome Man. This pointless crowd-pleaser begins with Andreas (Trond Fausa Aurvaag) jumping to his ostensible death after witnessing a gross make-out session between a couple inside a train station. Cut to him arriving at some purgatorial waystation, from where he gets into a car and is shipped to a steely metropolis where blood fazes no one and the topic of conversation at dinner parties revolves around the difference between the colors azure and coral. There are several ways to take this bothersome trifle, none of which are at all resonant. If Andreas is in fact dead, then Lien’s concept of hell is essentially a trip to a bourgeois shopping outlet. If the man is in a comatose state, then he must either choose to succumb to the irritating quirk and soulless drudgery that surround him (not to mention the cartoon panels that frame him) or make his way through the vaginal-hole-cum-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel inside an older man’s apartment and back into the world of evocative odors, screaming children, succulent vagina, and wooden clogs. Or maybe Andreas isn’t even dead and The Bothersome Man is meant as an allegory about Norwegian modern life, in which case the film doesn’t fly at all—or completely flew over my head. Lien’s cynical worldview might be tolerable if it weren’t such a head-scratcher. Why, for example, doesn’t Andreas die after being crushed by a series of high-speed trains? Why does he even choose to come to the film’s steel-and-cobalt yuppieville if he isn’t willing to give in to its banalities? What’s even holding him back? I guess you had to be there.
- Film Movement
- 95 min
- Jens Lien
- Per Schreiner
- Trond Fausa Aurvaag, Petronella Barker, Per Schaaning, Birgitte Larsen, Johannes Joner, Ellen Horn Anders T. Andersen, Sigve Bøe, Hanne Lindbæk, Ivar Lykke
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