The Middle Man – TIFF21


The Middle Man – TIFF21

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.

A small-town man gets a job to be the bearer of bad news in . Frank Farelli () enters the town hall of Karmack to be interviewed by The Commission of The Sherrif (), The Doctor (), and The Pastor (). The job Frank is interviewing for is to be Karmack's new “Middle Man” and deliver bad news to the next of kin of the victims of the town's many accidents. Getting the job on a trial basis, Frank is proud of the new responsibilities to possesses, though he soon finds himself at the end of his rope.

The Middle Man is a Canadian/Norwegian co-production from writer/director Bent Hamer, based on the novel by Lars Saabye Christensen. This dark comedy stars Pål Sverre Hagen (Kon-Tiki) as Frank Farelli, a recently unemployed man still living at home with his mother (). Frank hopes to do well with his new position as the town's Minute Man and even strikes up a relationship with his co-worker Brenda (). However, Frank catches the ire of Brenda's ex Bob (Trond Fausa), which kickstarts a series of unfortunate incidents for Frank.

If anything, The Middle Man is notable for its stacked cast of both Scandinavian and Canadian actors, including Paul Gross (Passchendaele), Don McKellar (Last Night), (Hyena Road), (Headhunters), and Nicolas Bro (Riders of Justice). The first itself is a somewhat quirky tale of a town plagued by horrific accidents and the effect this has on protagonist Frank. Admittedly, I think The Middle Man misses an opportunity to go much darker with this premise, but it is still a fine enough romp.

The Middle Man is screening as part of the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.