Biopics have a singular appeal. Despite being a fiction, and one of many possible interpretations of a famous person's life, there is something titillating about taking part in that particular famous person's life. Which you don't get, since it's an actor who has put on the wig – but nevertheless, the illusion requires us to agree that, for example, that woman with the drawn mustache is August Strindberg. Tricky.

No, it's not about our wandering thundercloud in trousers, but about his contemporary wooden brother and drinking scum Edvard Munch (Strindberg, however, is in, a little bit, in the aforementioned not entirely successful figure).

After some initial overplay, "Munch" jumps back and forth between four stages in the anguished artist's life, where the common thread is rather spiritual than chronological, nicely capturing the idea that a human being is all his ages at the same time. The main character is portrayed (as in Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan song "I'm not there") by four different actors; the aged Munch is played by a woman, which is completely congenial, since old age has a tendency to erase gender boundaries.

The sturm-und-drang years in Berlin are surprisingly set in the present, which is the film's smartest move; It gives us that rushed mix of youthful partying and creative creation that's hard to muster in the museum hat and kravatt.

Just like Munch himself mixes the aesthetic styles of filmmaker Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken. From costume film and realism to stylish animations and black and white suggestions in the "Persona" style.

A work's plot is not the primary thing, someone points out in the film, one must instead try to dial in the subject's frequency. In the case of "Munch": the essence of an artist. That's exactly what Dahlsbakken has done.

Most biopics are standardized things that could basically be about anyone. There are a few exceptions, like the aforementioned Dylan portrait, and while "Munch" doesn't reach that height of work, it still defies the cinematic laws of nature by being something as odd as a successful biopic.