Burrowing, by Henrik Hellström and Fredrik Wenzel, is set in a suburban subdivision in a small Swedish town. Its four main characters, each in their different way, live in a world apart from that of their neighbors.
There is the boy, Sebastian, who seems to have a highly articulate inner life, but is monosyllabic when talking to his mother. Mischa, a middle-aged man who “came to Sweden 30 years ago, to work,” but now seems to mainly rummage around the edges of his neighbors’ gardens. Jimmy, a young man who has a baby, lives in his parents’ house, but spends most of his days locked out, floating around supermarket parking lots with his child. Finally there is Anders, who “has everything Jimmy lacks,” a house, a job, a well-manicured lawn, but still seems to struggle desperately not to sink into the same void as his less fortunate counterpart.
The movie has very little dialogue, it is for the most part narrated by Sebastian. None of the main characters talk, or interact much with their surroundings. Frankly, given the inane nature of what passes for conversation around them, who can blame them?
The very man-made environment in which they live is surrounded by forests on all sides, into which the main characters are prone to retreat when the ordinary world becomes too much for them. Though there is nothing overtly hostile about any of the neighbors, or the place in which they live, there is somehow a threatening undertone. It is as if this mundane environment has turned on the weakest of its inhabitants, threatening to eat them alive without their neighbors even noticing.