Monday, December 31, 2012

7. Oslo

Directed by Joachim Trier. I am always drawn to Northern European film; in recent years I have developed a fascination for Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian cinema. It is a pure and beautiful film experience, it captures one troubled young man’s journey through the Norwegian capital on the last day of summer, toward an ambiguous final destination. After making the 2006 hipster-bromance “Reprise,” Trier took his time on this follow-up, which seems to follow the character played by doctor-turned-actor Anders Danielsen Lie in the earlier film toward a worst-case conclusion. This time around, Lie plays an intelligent young guy from a middle-class background who has spun out into heroin addiction and depression, and is taking a one-day vacation from rehab for a look at his options.

He appears to have made progress and has just been permitted an evening outside the unit followed by a whole day on his own in the city. But the film begins with a grim revelation about Anders's state of mind: is this the first day of the rest of his life? Or are these his final 24 hours; is he a dead man walking? Danielsen Lie gives an excellent performance; resentful, self-questioning, hopeful, vulnerable and angry. It is a vibrant, energetic and profoundly tragic, without a single wasted second.

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