Verdens verste menneske
starring starring Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum
written by Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier
directed by Joachim Trier
by Walter Chaw Joachim Trier has had his ear, unerring, pressed against the pulse of sweet melancholia and regret from the very beginning. He followed his first feature, Reprise, a downbeat essay of aspiring writers on the cusp of validation or immolation, with Oslo, August 31st, a jarring and indelible chronicle of one day in the life of a junkie trying for a second chance, maybe too late. Trier's English-language debut, Louder than Bombs, was about how a father and son remember their dead wife/mother differently, while his Thelma was a supernaturally-tinged coming-of-age film and my favourite movie of that year. Now comes this intense character study of the anxious generation, The Worst Person in the World. These films share an interest in people at a crossroads and forced to evolve. If I have a beef with Trier, it's that his endings of late have tended towards, if not tidiness exactly, at least a neatness not befitting his characters and their messy lives. It's less a failing of his than a failing of mine. I think what they do, though, these endings that feel like endings, is push his films a little away from realism and a little towards fable. The Worst Person in the World, accordingly, is a film through which it appears that Trier--32 at the time of Reprise, 47 now--is wrestling with what it means to be 30 in 2021 after providing such immediate and raw social landscapes in his early work. I wonder if fable is the only way to properly contextualize the young as we push into and past middle age. Maybe it would feel unseemly to pretend otherwise.