Billy Gray

Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Norway Out: Oslo, August 31st

In Movie Reviews on July 6, 2012 at 8:44 am

Joachim Trier’s beautiful dirge, Oslo, August 31st, opens with a jumble of unflattering shots of the Norwegian capital. Unlike Manhattan, the voiceover narration isn’t a declaration of love for the titular city; it sounds more like divorce court proceedings, or a plaintive couple’s therapy session, and consists of a dozen or so strangers’ thoughts spliced together. They recall lost loves, misspent youths and phantom landmarks. The montage closes with a building demolition.

Soon you realize you were listening to a rap session in a halfway house for drug addicts. Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) joins the group, soaking wet, after an aborted suicide attempt—like an ADHD-riddled Virginia Woolf, he weighs himself down with rocks and walks into a stream, but bursts to the surface before the job is done. This is not a man who should be leaving the isolated rehab clinic and heading to the city unsupervised, least of all for a job interview that would test an eagle scout’s resolve.

Before the interview Anders buzzes up to an apartment. You think it’s his dealer, but it turns out to be a friend, Thomas (Hans Olav Brenner, packing a wallop into his brief screen time), who cut ties with the chemically charged rave scene well enough before Anders to be a husband, father and academic writer unashamed to inject e Proust into casual conversation. Thomas is perturbed by Anders’ unannounced visit—his wife chalks up the morning beer to him wanting to look macho in front of Anders when really he needs whatever sedative he can snag. Read the rest of this entry »