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  Bothersome Man, The Hole In The Wall Gang
Year: 2006
Director: Jens Liens
Stars: Trond Fausa Aurvaag, Petronella Barker, Per Schaaning, Birgitte Larsen, Johannes Joner, Ellen Horn, Anders T. Andersen, Sigve Bøe, Hanne Lindbæk, Ivar Lykke
Genre: Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Andreas (Trond Fausa Aurvaag) is standing on an underground railway platform when he becomes aware of a couple industriously kissing a few feet away. This does not make him feel any better and he proceeds to leap in front of the next train, whereupon it all goes blank until he notices he is now on a bus, the sole passenger, that is travelling through a wasteland. It draws up at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere and a man waiting there helpfully takes him under his wing, driving him to the nearest city where a whole new life is awaiting him. But what if he doesn't want it?

An oddity, The Bothersome Man, or Den Brysomme mannen as it was called in its original Norwegian, was scripted by Per Schreiner from his radio play and was vague enough as to what precisely it was about to be open to a number of interpretations. If Andreas has indeed died at the beginning of the film, by his own hand as it were, then does that mean he is in some kind of afterlife once he reaches the unnamed city? And more importantly is it Heaven or is it Hell? As the story goes on, Andreas certainly believes he is suffering through some kind of punishment.

Yet if he had allowed himself a chance to settle down and accept his lot in, er, "life", then he might have got along just fine with this new no-conflict existence, which is the central theme of the film. He has a new job where everyone is friendly, a decent place to live, and after a while he gets a girlfriend, Anna Britt (Petronella Barker) with whom he moves into a new, bigger house in the suburbs. This is all very well, but Andreas' dissatisfaction with just about everything once more rears its head, and he is sent on the same path he was on before.

At first he feeds his need for a better life by having an affair with co-worker Ingeborg (Birgitte Larsen), but when he leaves Anna Britt for this new love, he finds she's not all she's cracked up to be and has a string of relationships with other men - which are still going on as she sees Andreas. The Bothersome Man is supposedly a comedy, but although there are heavy doses of irony throughout, there's little to make one laugh out loud: a wry smile is the most many will muster. Early on, Andreas decides there's something not quite right about the city, triggered by the suicide victim he sees impaled on the railings outside his office block.

But there's more, with the food not tasting of anything much, the alcohol not making anyone drunk no matter how much you drink, and a complete lack of children. Andreas seems stuck in a loop of sabotage and self-destruction, no more than when he goes down to the subway once more and throws himself onto the tracks, only to be dragged around the tunnels by various trains without actually dying. He eventually is returned home, mashed up and covered in blood, where an oblivious Anna Britt offers him a weekend of go-karting. Andreas need to believe there's a better world above this one is what spurs him on and becomes his undoing: if only he had been content he would not have ended up where he is at the close. Yet the film is not naive enough to accept this either, pointing out that for some their current lives will never be enough, no matter how calm. Pessimism and sympathy make strange bedfellows.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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