The Middle Man

In Films by Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Rating: 5/5.
Bottom line: A Carrollian wonderland of a film.

Release date: Out now.
Run time: 1 hour 35 minutes.
Director: Bent Hamer.
Cast: Pål Sverre Hagen, Aksel Hennie, Nicolas Bro, Rossif Sutherland, Don McKellar, Paul Gross.

Bent Hamer makes surreal and sublime films about the human condition.

His debut feature, Eggs, was nominated for the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995, and won the International Critics Award at the Toronto Film Festival. His 2003 comedy drama, Kitchen Stories, won best film at the Amanda Awards in Norway, and Best Director at the Copenhagen International Film Festival. His 2005 film Factotum—an adaptation of the Charles Bukowski cult novel, starring Matt Dillon—won Best Director at the Copenhagen International Film Festival. So don’t be surprised if The Middle does the same.

The story is a superbly observed dissection of life and death in the God-forsaken town of Karmack—a community so deep in depression that they need a middle man to deliver the bad news.

Featuring a superb performance by Pål Sverre Hagen (Kon-Tiki’s) as the titular character with the thankless job, the supporting cast includes Aksel Hennie (The Trip), Nicolas Bro (Riders of Justice), Rossif Sutherland (Possessor), Don McKellar (eXistenZ), and Due South’s Paul Gross, here playing the off-kilter town sheriff.

The Middle Man won’t be everyone’s cut of tea, but if you like multi-layered films that make you laugh, cry, and ponder the meaning of it all, then jump in. This is a Carrollian wonderland of a film.