Imagine a world where everyone is polite, nobody swears and there is no trash. You’re in a seemingly perfect, chaos and violence free world. A paradise, only there are no memories, pain, real emotions, children, or even death. Everything is fabricated, monotonous, detached and impersonal. 40 Year old Andreas finds himself in this place and is totally unaware of how he came to be there. He arrives by bus and is promptly escorted to his new apartment and along with his new apartment comes a new job. Andreas is told that he is to begin his new career as an accountant so he turns up for work and meets his cookie cutter, superficial, materialistic workmates who love to dine together and obsess over the latest furniture designs.
Andreas soon discovers queer aspects to this new place such as when he sees a workmate who has attempted suicide and people walk by the scene nonchalantly. Things become even stranger when the man appears at work again the next day. Andreas later cuts his finger off at work, only to find it hours later in perfect condition reattached to his hand. Or when he hears a man in lavish tuxedo shoes in the toilet spouting how alcohol has no impact, and how nothing tastes as it should, such as hot chocolate, burgers and pussy. Slowly Andreas becomes ostracized from the rest of the mechanical society evolving from a seemingly happy and centered man to a more weary and bothersome man.
Aside from beautiful architecture and Nordic pastures and barren lands that gives the film its own thumb-print, the film is laconic, contemplative and thought provoking, and its message is delivered so serenely but with a big blow to the collective unconscious. The message of this film is universal, the more materialistic, hedonistic and consumed by capitalism we are the more soulless and despondent we become. Many films try to portray such issues in such an overwhelming way that the point is lost. The Bothersome man is focused and very witty, but not to the point where its overtly conceited. The undertones of black comedy and extreme self-inflicted violence also add a bit of fun and character to the film. Although on the other side of story there is another issue at hand: that being of suicide, this may be how people get to this place and why they can not die again in this new place. This ultimately brings up the discourse on the message the film is trying to ascertain which will vary from person to person. I will not project my own opinions here.
The cinematography is beautiful and even though all the sets are mainly dull in colour they ooze a visual candy with their sleek design and intrepid structure. The humour is distinctively Nordic, and may not appeal to all but The Bothersome Man is definitely worth viewing even if just for a taste of a different culture or to see a decent modern film. I would highly recommend this film for fans of movies with philosophical natures.
The copy reviewed is a region 4 release put out by Madman Entertainment. The special features are pretty threadbare consisting of the original theatrical trailer and Madman propaganda. Special features (commentaries etc) would sort of throw off the minimalist qualities of the film I guess. Interpret it yourself.