The Bothersome Man (2006)
By: Paul Ryan on April 3, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Madman (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). Norwegian DD 5.1, Norwegian DD 2.0. English Subtitles.
The Movie
Director: Jens Lien
Starring: Trond Fausa Aurvag, Petronella Barker, Per Schanning, Birgitte Larsen
Screenplay: Per Schreiner
Country: Iceland/Norway
Average schlub Andreas (Trond Fausa Aurvag) gets off a bus in a dusty desert nowheresville with no memory and a messy visage straight out of Paris, Texas. Cleaned up and given a bland grey suit, he is taken to a city where there are no children, no music and everyone seems completely, if strangely content. He commences a dull office job, is placed in an apartment with a girlfriend (Petronella Barker), who is more passionate about interior design than relationships, and finds that any injury (no matter how gruesome) is easily fixed. Also, alcholol doesn't work, food tastes kind of bland and emotional intimacy is taboo. Unhappy with the brab routine, Andreas attempts to leave (through any means possible), but is consistently intercepted by a pair of cleaners who guard the city exits. Encountering a fellow malcontent in the form of the middle-aged Hugo (Per Schanning), Andreas discovers a way out of the city, but can he escape unnoticed?

The Bothersome Man is consistently interesting and occasionally amusing, but doesn't really say anything new. Leaving aside the Scandavaian setting - and expected digs at Ikea - this kind of fantastical loner-against-the-conformist-system scenario is awfully familiar by now. There are moments that recall The Cars That Ate Paris, Dark City, and Sleeper, all of which are better films than this one.

What does work in the film's favour are fine comic perfomances by all concerned, especially the deadpan Aurvag. It's cleverly designed and has some genuinely funny comic moments, its just a shame they don't belong to a richer, more original film.
An excellent anamorphic transfer compliments John Christian Rosenlund's superb cinematography with its neatly framed shots of the mysterious city (actually Oslo).
Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 Norwegian soundtracks are provided here. Like the video, there are no complaints to be had here.
Extra Features
Theatrical Trailer (1.59m, 4x3ws): The trailer gives away a couple of the film's best gags, but otherwise sells the film effectively.

Madman Propaganda:
Bonus trailers for Clean, C.R.A.Z.Y., Lower City, and The Method. Not to mention one of those tiresome anti-piracy ads. Bah, humbug.
The Verdict
The Bothersome Man is a film you want to like more than you actually do. Nonetheless, there are many little pleasures to be had throughout, not to mention some striking visuals. Madman's disc is technically tip-top, but any substanital extras seem to have been banished by the city's cleaners.
Movie Score
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