Shown as a Special Presentation at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, and winner of the
Best Actor Award (for lead actor Pål Sverre Hagen) at the 2022 Amanda
Awards in Norway, Norwegian writer/director Bent Hamer’s eccentric comedy
drama is set in a small town plagued by accidents and economic woes, where
one man has the unenviable job of breaking bad news to its citizens.
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), and Don McKellar (eXistenZ
), with a terrific role for Due South’s Paul Gross, here playing
the town sheriff. THE MIDDLE MAN is deliciously funny,
very dark and superbly entertaining, with a hint of the Coen brothers’ Fargo, and a unique European/American flavour of its own.
Visually rich, wonderfully dry and filled with beautifully scripted,
enigmatic exchanges between the town’s buttoned-up citizens, THE MIDDLE MAN is an offbeat treat, shot through with Hamer’s skewed yet
ultimately compassionate view of humanity.
Hamer’s 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 numerous awards, including best film at the
Amanda Awards in Norway, and Best Director at the Copenhagen International
Film Festival; and his 2005 film Factotum, an adaptation of the
Charles Bukowski cult novel, starring Matt Dillon, won Best Director at the
Copenhagen International Film Festival.
Frank Farrelli takes on the job as a middle man in the God-forsaken town of
Karmack, USA, a community in a depression so deep that they need a middle
man to professionally communicate more of the bad news.