Friday, December 28, 2012

Movie Review: Oslo, August 31st (2012)

Oslo August 31st movie posterOslo, August 31st (2012) - Directed by Joachim Trier; Written by Trier and Eskil Vogt; Starring Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, Ingrid Olava.

By Kenny Howell

Joachim Trier became known to some American audiences a few years back with his film Reprise, about two writers trying to make it as authors. He is back with Lie, who starred in Reprise, with a story of a man trying to overcome his demons and trying to assess whether he has anything to live for.

Lie plays Anders, a drug addict who has been in rehab for a year. He comes back to Oslo to visit old friends for a day and is contemplating suicide. He is also fighting his urges to fall back into addiction to heroine, cocaine and booze. He feels lost because now that he is in his mid 30s, it is hard to start over, especially when you can't fully put your problems in your past.

The film, which covers just over a day of time, is not hard to get through or overly depressing as it may seem. Anders is in a extremely vulnerable position, one that, at times, you kind of understand where he is coming from. What really does he have to live for? Is his life really better off of drugs than it is on? Obviously, you want him to get better, and you want him to find that idealized life he is not sure he wants. But that understanding you build with Anders makes you want to bust into your TV, give the guy a hug, and tell him it's going to be OK.

Lie, who dominates pretty much all of the screen time, is excellent. His thin, broken face is of a man beaten, but also of a young man, much younger than 34, who is scared of what his future holds, and what choices he may make. His performance alone makes this one of the better films of 2012.

Trier has recently made his English language film debut with Louder Than Bombs, which is also quite good.

Rating: ***1/2

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