The Bothersome Man (Den brysomme mannen, Norway-Iceland, 2006)

Bourgeois hell

Bourgeois hell

It will be difficult to blog about this film without spoilers… It most reminded me of Fight Club (US, 1999) in its satire on an  IKEA-built existence but while Fincher’s movie’s ‘in yer face’ this piss-take of bourgeois existence is more muted (and low budget). It effectively uses the mise en scene to present a place where, in the words of David Byrne, ‘nothing ever happens’ and, indeed, it is meant to be heaven; or rather a hell.

Heaven is populated only by white middle aged folks but that only goes to emphasise the ‘hell’. Our protaganist rails against the lack of emotion – you can’t even get drunk – and tries to get out. This results in some grotesque and funny scenes – like being run over by an underground train – but there’s only one place that he can end up.

I can’t say the film gripped me. The narrative is as muted as the tones and I didn’t feel the world presented was uncanny enough to give a sufficient sense of weirdness. I felt I was watching a low-budget The Matrix (US, 1999) without the action (which is a peculiar comparison I admit).


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