The Middle Man (2021)

I’ve been a Bent Hamer fan since the droll Norwegian auteur’s Kitchen Stories (HIFF 2003) satirized efficiency researchers. You wouldn’t call the people of his new film efficient, but they certainly are busybodies. (…) The theme is grief, not normally a subject for mirth. But just watch Norwegian actor Pål Sverre Hagen go as Frank, the absurd “middle man” tasked with being the bearer of bad news.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Working from Lars Saabye Christensen’s novel Sluk, Norwegian writer-director Bent Hamer leads us through Frank’s story with an off-kilter absurdity and bone-dry hilarity. Casting a recognizable European and Canadian stable of actors only adds to that tone, since the setting (as evidenced by painted signage on a building) is meant to be America. Think the Rust Belt with its decaying factories and oblivious yokels too entrenched (and poor) to ever follow those who already escaped when the writing first went on the wall. And they all know each other to the point where the Sheriff swearing Frank to secrecy about his job proves ludicrous.

Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Distribution: Norwegian Film Institute
  • Cinematography: John Christian Rosenlund
  • Editing: Anders Refn
  • Music: Jonathan Goldsmith
  • Sound: Steve Munro
  • Production design: Diana Magnus
  • Costume design: Amanda Lee Street