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Monday, May 28, 2012

Oslo, 31. August by Joachim Trier, 2011 (NR)

with Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, Ingrid Olava

This psychological drama follows a day in the life of Anders, a recovering drug addict who travels to his old stomping grounds of Oslo for a job interview. While there, he must confront his past as well as his plans for a new life.

First and foremost, I do not speak Norwegian. It has never been a problem until now. Usually, when I watch a movie with subtitles, I can follow the dialogues and still watch what is happening in the rest of the screen. Here, the dialogues required some brain presence so if you started focusing on the subtitles, you missed the action. I was experiencing moments where the visuals were so powerful that I forgot to read the subtitles, so I have no idea what I missed. It is a very beautiful movie, with the same esthetic as "Reprise", the previous film of Joachim Trier, which I found brilliant and powerful. But in this one, the dialogues were so dense that it didn't allow to be transported fully, too intellectual and therefor too much based on what you understood instead of what you felt. It is good, the main actor is excellent, supported by amazing actors. The landscapes of the city, the outskirt, the light, everything is perfect. There are a few moment which didn't have dialogue that were probably to most achieved ones, with a long bike ride at night leading to a night club, the piano scene where he expresses all that is left of himself in two minutes of playing. Another scene that was very powerful is when he becomes the experience of others, in a cafe, with a change of perspective, listening passively, still, very much the center of the attention, with the very presence of his perspective on the story of others. Perhaps to watch again, but I definitely recommend everyone to watch "Reprise" in the meantime.
Ah, funnily, I would never think of associating "The Grey" with "Oslo, 31. August" but it definitely has an identical view on life and death, which is interesting to see in two very different movies, with two very different contexts.

Watch Trailer:

Official Website: http://www.facebook.com/Oslo31august


  1. I like your review and the movie despite all the gloominess (I mean the movie started with a Bon Iver song, dammit!) ..

    For me I think the movie's main idea was how many reasons there are to live if only one has eyes to see. I liked specifically the scene with his friend in the park and I think the one scene that really ticked him to go back to his old routine is at the restaurant when his sister didn't show up. I mean, that support he was desperate for but couldn't even find.

    1. Thank you Wahdan for the review, it is nice to remember this movie, yes the soundtrack was really perfect. And the perspective scene in the restaurant, with everyone going on with their life, in such a disconnected way...

  2. I think that through the entire film he was weighing his percepted meaninglessness of conventional life he was supposed to live after the rehab against the love he may eventually find during life (possibly symbolized by his attempts to reach Iselin). I also noted that we only hear of his parents, but we don't see them, just the way we don't see his sister, this may indicate a lack of family support at this crucial moment but also through his entire life. When describing his parents he says nice things about them, but doesn't mention directly whether he ever felt loved by them.

    1. Thank you Ivan for your comment. I totally agree!