Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Bothersome Man: Grade B

The Bothersome Man (2006)
Trond Fausa Aurvaag, Petronella Barker. Director Jens Lien. (Norwegian, subtitled).

A ragged man (Aurvaag) wanders in the Icelandic desert until he is picked up by a black limo and taken to the city where he is inexplicably given a posh flat and shown to an easy office job at a nice company in the city. That is his transition from the wilderness to civilized society. He adapts quickly to civilized life and begins dating a co-worker (Barker). But is something wrong in paradise? The food is tasteless, the drinks never make you drunk and nothing has any smell. The the city is geometrically interesting but almost colorless; grays, blues, taupe. Even the inside of people’s apartments and houses are minimalist and “inoffensive.” The man moves in with his girl, who is obsessed with interior design. They have mechanical sex. He is unfaithful to her but the new girl won’t commit to anything, finding him only “pleasant.” A crack in the fa├žade of polite society is represented by a crack in a basement wall. Beautiful music seems to be coming out of it. The man attempts to tunnel through the rock and concrete to the music and the light. The idea is not original, (e.g., The Truman Show, The Prisoner), but it is a timeless one, beautifully photographed, subtly presented, and well-played. It is nice to see Oslo and the Icelandic desert and hear an interesting language.

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