The Bothersome Man (Den Brysomme Mannen)
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One day, a bus drops off its solitary passenger at a run-down gas station in the middle of nowhere. The passenger, Andreas (Trond Fausa Aurvaag), is then brought to the city, where he’s given a new life—a new place to live, a new job, a new office with a great view. In his new city, everything is nice. The people are all very nice. The city is sleek and clean and modern. His new job is stress-free, and his boss never yells at him. And everyone there is stable and content. He even finds a girlfriend, Anne (Petronella Barker), and settles into a nice life in a nice house.

It’s not long, however, before Andreas realizes that there’s something very wrong with this nice new city. No matter how much he drinks, the alcohol just doesn’t work. Food doesn’t taste like anything. And no one shows any emotion. Sure, no one’s ever angry or sad, but no one’s passionate about anything. No one cries at the sad parts in movies. No one seems to feel happiness or love. When he falls in love with a woman from work and decides to leave his flat, lifeless relationship with Anne, Andreas finds that his new girlfriend has been seeing several other men—all of whom she says are “very nice.”

Andreas tries to escape—even if it means killing himself—but nothing seems to work. As he goes about his day-to-day life, though, he meets a man who, like him, is dissatisfied with their nice life in their nice city. In his new friend’s basement apartment, Andreas discovers a hole in the wall—a hole from which beautiful music and delicious scents and the laughter of children seep through—and Andreas becomes obsessed with digging a tunnel and finding what’s on the other side of the wall.

The Bothersome Man (or Den Brysomme Mannen in Norwegian) is an artsy movie with a non-conformist message that’s been done so many times before that it pretty much defeats the whole purpose—by conforming to the standard non-conformist message. In fact, the message is so unoriginal that it’s no longer all that artsy or interesting. It’s just tiresome. Or, I suppose, bothersome.

From the beginning, it’s hard to get into the story. We’re told very little about Andreas. We don’t know where he came from or how he got there or why he’s even there—and thus, it’s hard to care about him at all, making it a painful hour and a half. And while I can usually appreciate dry wit and dark humor, the humor in The Bothersome Man just didn’t work for me. Though a few people around the theater laughed somewhat uncomfortably from time to time, I ended up feeling much like most of the characters in the movie—worn out and drained of any emotion.

Don’t bother seeing The Bothersome Man. It’s an exhausting movie that beats its non-conformist message like the dead horse that it is. If you really want to rebel against the Hollywood Machine, you should have no problem finding more entertaining ways to do so.

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