The Bothersome Man is a dark, nasty little movie that's never quite as deep or as clever as it imagines itself to be. Based on a Norwegian radio play, the film tells the story of Andreas (Trond Fausa Aurvaag), an office worker who throws himself under a subway train seconds after the film opens. The next time we see him, he's the lone passenger on a battered bus to the middle of nowhere. Stepping out of the bus, Andreas finds himself standing on a wide plain, with dark mountains in the distance. Nearby is the only building as far as the eye can see, an old gas station sporting a makeshift "WELCOME" sign. The station's solicitous attendant drives Andreas to "his" apartment in a large, modern city, and tells him where to go to work in the morning.
This, then, is the afterlife. And, in director Jens Lien's new film, the afterlife looks a whole lot like western Europe today, complete with glass-clad skyscrapers, classical facades, and an old town full of winding streets and elderly people who look like they've lived there for 50 years. Everyone is well-dressed and friendly, albeit it in a superficial way. Marriage is encouraged because it looks good; what goes on inside the home or within the heart is of no consequence. No one actually forms emotional attachments, but the appearance of closeness and happiness is in place, and that's what's important. Food has no taste, alcohol no kick, and it's impossible to die, but hey, those are the breaks.