The Bothersome Man Jens Lien

The Bothersome Man Jens Lien

This is the movie where the Narrator fails to find his Tyler Durden and suffers instead the Ikea banalities of the modern world. Though Norwegian director Jens Lien strains for a Beckett-meets-Twilight Zone sensibility he never exactly achieves, The Bothersome Man is still a very entertaining elaboration on the theme of white urban alienation. A 40-year-old man named Andreas is shipped out to an ultramodern city with no memory of where he came from. Suddenly, he’s got a boring job, a passionless wife, an enamel-white house and a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction he just can’t shake. Problem is, he can neither escape the city nor reconcile with its norms, and so his only hope lies with the hole he finds in a cellar that might be a way out. There’s a sense in which this movie is a tad obvious, making a play for a dystopian fantasy scenario that’s been rehashing itself for some time now. Still, you can never have too many movies bashing the dream of a good job, a piece of property and a complete lack of purpose in spite of your better intentions. I imagine many a desk jockey will nod in silent recognition as Andreas goes through the motions of engaging the mindlessly contented world around him, dying inside a little more each day; it’s not sophisticated but it sure hits the spot. To be fair, the movie can’t really define the unease it evokes — the film doesn’t search for sources and fails to provide the political metaphor that might have lifted it out of the bourgeois dissatisfaction category. Still, it’s a well made, mordantly funny and bleakly enjoyable riff on the cloud over your head that never goes away no matter how hard you try to wave it off. Or is that just my problem? (Mongrel Media)