Oslo, 31. august (2011)

Image result for oslo august 31stA drug addict is on day release from his treatment centre in order to attend a job interview and to catch up with old friends.

This was another of the films which I first came across while browsing through the BBCi Player website.

These ‘day-in-the-life’ films tend to be very hit and miss for the most part. However, this film did intrigue me although its run-time did drag a bit at times. Foreign cinema is very protracted by nature and the sing-song Norwegian accents will lull you into a cinematic bumper car ride at the speed of a Venetian gondola trip.

This film focuses on the people who are at the centre of the story. Not just the central male, Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) but everyone else too. The conversations Anders listens to as people sit across from him in a cafe, the conversations he has with other characters at a party, or when he chats with a friend. They’re all important! For their amalgamated lengths of screen-time, the camera makes them the focus.

Anders is believable and is more than just the cardboard cuttout addict character who is determined to get clean from drugs for good. Glimpses of him with the family of a friend show with stark simplicity that the small choices (good or bad) that you make about your life will lead to bigger things. That too might lead you away from the place you want to be. It is also so tragic seeing how talented Anders was, but fate dealt him a hand and this film is just an unfolding of the tragic consequences.

Anders’s quiet desperation becomes more apparent as the film unfolds. He leaves messages for his ex-girlfriend and the final scenes are crafted so finely that it almost feels ordinary. Almost.

While this movie was certainly enjoyable, I didn’t adore it. It was not the fault of the acting or direction. It was more the run-time, really. I think that this film could certainly have operated just as well being slightly trimmed in duration. European cinema is always quite hit-and-miss anyway because they do require a mediocum of intelligence to watch. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into watching a European film without knowing at least a little about its contexts. While the central message is still intriguing, I’m not too sure how much replay value a film about drug addiction has.

MY RATING: *** / *****

 

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