Kunsten å tenke negativt (2006)
In Norway, as opposed to most other countries, most films have a first-time director. With Kunsten å tenke negativt that fact is more apparent than one would want it to be. A general idea is that first-timers bring freshness and good ideas to the medium. And Breien opens this film as a delightful comedy, mocking classic group therapy, satirizing a society that has come to overfocus mental health and well-being into the counterproductive. The characters are all amusing, ranging from the utterly spineless (Mestad) to the explosively destructive (Såheim), and it gives the film an edgy and raw quality early on. Breien shows poignancy in a few down-to-earth reflections on the challenges of being handicapped or paralyzed. He is no Alejandro Amenábar, but the film has dramatic effect. Unfortunately, the young filmmaker hasn't got the command to maintain a direction throughout, and Kusnten å tenke negativt ultimately submerges into a pulpy, unfocused finale in which every character acts from the same pattern before they all come to the same conclusion, which really isn't much more of a conclusion than you can read from the title.