Thomas's friend is a little jealous of the early release and arranges a parting beat-down for the lucky bastard. Despite damaged fingers he impresses the church staff even though they'd already told him they'd hired someone else, and since the someone else can't take the job right away Thomas gets it. He's a little uncomfortable working in a church because he's no believer, but it's a living -- only there's this one boy who hangs around and seems awfully interested. He turns out to be Jens, the son of Anna, the resident priest of this Lutheran church. It's an interesting twist to have a single mother performing the mass, as if in imitation of Mary rather than Christ, but I think Poppe underdevelops the spiritual implications of Thomas's growing attraction to Anna and the eventual shoulders-and-sheets consummation of their mutual attraction. The main action of this section is Thomas's overcoming of his alienation and his mistrust of himself as he edges toward a big-brother if not paternal relationship with Jens. His new life is threatened, however, by the coincidental presence in the same town of the parents of Isak, the drowned boy. We learn that the mother has been questioning church people about him and that she got into his stuff in the organ booth at least once. When Thomas goes to confront her, the father throws him out. Nothing short of the confession of murder that Thomas refuses to make will satisfy them.
For Thomas, music rather than religion is his mode of spiritual expression, but it can't stave off all feelings of guilt and dread.
When Poppe cuts from Thomas's frantic search for Jens to Agnes's frantic search for her son Isak in the past he hopes to have the audience hooked. He's inviting us to jump to a conclusion about what's happened to Jens, but before we find out he sends us back in time, now following Agnes through scenes we've already seen, some we've heard about regarding her, others which we've seen already but didn't know she was in. We see a woman who's rebuilt her life with two adopted kids and a career tending to kids as a schoolteacher, with a husband who takes steps to prevent her from encountering Thomas but can't control all events. Trine Dyrholm portrays a woman going mad with hate and fear, and Poppe portrays her like someone on the opposite side of a funhouse mirror from where we and Thomas had been standing. We see her through the plexiglas of car windows, and in one eerie scene in a swimming pool she seems to be arching through the air above the water rather than swimming in it.
Anna offers Thomas the Body of Christ, but we know whose body he really wants.
Troubled Water is another Film Movement DVD presentation, which I've borrowed from the Albany Public Library. I'd say any library that wants to have a respectable foreign film collection ought to subscribe to this outfit's output. I get the impression that the film hasn't been seen much in the U.S. apart from the Hamptons International Film Festival, where it won an audience award and probably earned the blurbs from Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore that adorn the box cover. While those may not be the most authoritative reviewers, I'll tell you that it's worth a look at least to keep up to date on Norwegian cinema. I liked it overall, but I can imagine other viewers liking it better than I did.
Here's an unsubtitled Norwegian trailer uploaded to YouTube by paradoxaf. I hope I've given you enough information to make it comprehensible.