Oslo, August 31st - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Oslo, August 31st Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2013
The sober rationality of the young Norwegian intellectual classes provides a perfectly blank canvas on which to paint the conversely complex neuroses of the anti-hero, Anders. Anders is an intelligent and gifted opinionist and writer, but his addiction has left him riddled with insecurity. The film focuses on the most pivotal moment of this young man's life as he's tragically stuck between recovery and regression: that moment is both sprinkled with glimmers of hope and drenched in melancholia. Anders' contradiction is the eternal paradox of the addict, and perhaps Trier is presenting it as an allegory of the modern human condition.

Anders Danielsen Lie gives an incredible performance as the enigmatic hero and the acting throughout is consistently authentic, convincing and engrossing. The soft-focus cinematography (Jakob Ihre) works well with a particularly engaging sound design which, along with very conscious direction, editing and general production design, makes for technically masterful cinema with an aesthetic that is both selectively minimal and enjoyably rich.

Oslo is a tragedy. Its simple, melancholic tone and metropolitan landscapes make the film undeniably reminiscent of the French New Wave - think Hiroshima Mon Amour in present day Oslo. The film is minimal and stylized, presenting social realism in an artistic form without losing any of its dramatic potency to surrealism. Utterly convincing and captivating, it's a shame this film hasn't made more noise because it certainly deserves your attention.
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2012
A poignant character study, melancholic and sad, about a man facing a desolate moment in his life when all hope seems lost, everything left is despair and he sees no reason to keep on trying. A deeply involving drama that relies on Lie's compelling performance.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2012
"Oslo, August 31st" is Joachim Trier's sequel to "Reprise," his explosively inventive but wildly uneven debut film that was released in the US in 2008. It's hard to believe that the two films are made by the same filmmaker.

Whereas "Reprise" had style and cinematic inventiveness oozing out of every pore, "Oslo" is flat and nearly devoid of style. It feels more like a TV movie.

It also shows that Trier is still suffering from the principal weakness that marred "Reprise": he's not good at developing stories. He's a talented director, but not a great screenwriter. "Oslo" captures a mood of despair supremely well. But once it depicts this mood, it doesn't have much to say about it. It just shows it. It describes the mood but has no analysis of it or even anything compelling to say about it. It is all Act 1, no Act 2.

If you remember from "Reprise," one of the young men in the gang becomes a literary sensation with his debut novel and then drifts inexplicably into mental illness. He is the main character of "Oslo." When the film opens, he is at an inpatient rehab center, trying to get off heroin, alcohol, and other drugs. We watch him leave the facility on his first free night out. When the patients seem ready, they are allowed to spend an evening on their own in the city.

He goes on several appointments, meeting up with friends and trying to cross paths with his estranged girlfriend. The difficulties he experiences capture exceptionally well his sadness and loneliness. It's not really clear that anyone loves him. But these visits become a bit episodic and repetitious and there are far too many bland sequences of him traveling through the city.

He ends up in a nightclub, which is the worst place for an addict in a fragile state to go. Temptations abound. The film ends on a harrowing but fairly predictable note.

Bottom line: I'd say that Joachim Trier is showing signs that he's having trouble maturing as an artist. I hope I'm wrong about this, but I think we might end up looking back at "Reprise" as Trier's one stand-out film. He's showing signs of being a one-hit wonder.
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2014
"Oslo, August 31st" starts on the day before, as Anders(Anders Danielsen Lie) wakes up next to Malin(Malin Crepin). After which he goes for a walk before trying to drown himself. When that does not take, he goes back to the recovery house where he has been staying to get cleaned up and put on his dress sneakers for a job interview that day. Before which, he meets with Thomas(Hans Olav Brenner) and Rebecca(Ingrid Olava), two of Anders' friends from his party days.

"Oslo, August 31st" is a downbeat character study of somebody who has self-medicated for his depression and now finds that life has passed him by, with him not being the only one in that precarious position. The reality is that it is not over and that he can turn it around, even if he has blown his original advantages. The question remains how much he may want to without his ex-girlfriend Iselin. The movie remains ambiguous about whether the breakup caused his current extreme behavior or whether the behavior drove Iselin thousands of miles away. Just keep in mind that Anders' sister is not currently talking to him, either.
Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2012
Quiet yet powerful, uneventful yet overwhelming. Joachim Trier is a masterful observant of the subtleties that make the most profound impact and whispers them in our ears thus making them more personal.
July 8, 2014
Deliberately paced, but rewarding in the end, Oslo August 31st is a film about breaking patterns and starting over. Director Joachim Trier allows the audience to look in on the day in the life of Anders, a man battling drug addiction. The entire film is a journey filled with the hope that Anders will beat his addiction. With great performers and a strong script, Trier earns every moment in the film, refusing to fall into plot contrivances along the way. It won't work for everyone, because of its slow pace, but if you're willing to stick with it, Oslo August 31st will reward you.
½ June 21, 2013
Trier has carefully crafted a portrait of an addict, and the pressures of modern life with outstanding technical assurance. It's a sad story, but beautifully told.
½ February 16, 2013
A crushingly beautiful, humbling and depressing film about a day in the life of a recovering addict who spends his day roaming around the city of Oslo, visiting old flames and spending time with his friends. Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) spends most of his day just watching other people. Watching people live their lives, doubting that he could ever regain what he once had. Anders' performance is very subtle and realistic, avoiding any sort of cinematic melodrama despite the heavy nature of the material and Joachim Trier's direction is unobtrusive, letting things play out almost as if we were watching a documentary. The key player here is the city of Oslo. The film opens with citizens discussing growing up in the beautiful Norway capital, talking about how it shaped them into the adults they came to be. The environment here is essential, Anders spends most of the movie getting lost in Oslo's cafes and parties, before the city eventually consumes him.
July 24, 2012
Was not as bowled over as the critics apparently - and their 97% RT grade. I thought some of the talking scenes rolled on longer than they should have without many shifts or turns. The movie was bleak, for sure. The ending was grim. It had little bursts of emotion, visuals that you could relish in for a little bit. But something just didn't connect for me. No mistake though, Anders Danielson Lie did a fantastic job yet again. Such a strong actor that one.
May 25, 2012
extraordinary. melancholy. beautiful.

a keenly insightful script and a tour de force performance by anders danielsen lee about a character traversing the unique (yet universal) existential plight with the past, desire, temptation, love, lust, friendship, family, and the banalities of day to day life in a secular world.
his tranquil resignation is affecting and haunting.

infinite jest.
oslo, august 31st.

a barren, chilly score adds to the gravitas.

a stunning achievement in film.

[only the second movie i've awarded the full five stars to this year]
½ November 20, 2011
started off really strong, like Repriese the opening prologue is the best part of the film, but it remains strong and at least interesting until the very last scene, that descends into tritest junky cliche of all, and renders the rest of the movie moot. you can hear "Under Your Spell" by Desire in one of the party scenes. that made me smile.
½ October 5, 2015
Oslo, 8/31 is both a character sketch and a social drama (and in that aspect it raises questions rather than delivers a message). The film begins strong and then fades, as other reviewers have noted. I put that mostly down to the script as the acting and directing are solid-to-excellent throughout. (Love how the sound mix captures the buzz of city life.) Would recommend to lovers of film, those able to have any kind of pathos for an arrogant addict, or those interested in looking at things from a psychological/social standpoint. Others are likely to find Oslo, 8/31 emotionally unsatisfying.
September 8, 2015
The film's visual minimalism provides the peace and serenity its troubled protagonist so desperately desires.
August 1, 2015
Highly artistic and studied examination of addiction, depression, damage and alienation which takes place in one day. Joachim Trier manages to say a great deal without saying anything. And just when it feels like Anders is going to slip into a horrifying void, something small but hopeful happens.
½ July 17, 2015
Really, really calm, but hell of powerful. If you like "Lost in Translation" and "Requiem for a Dream" go watch this movie immediately.
½ August 20, 2012
It is observation made with talent of a man in between hope and tragedy that is devastating and poignant without useless sensationalism.Quiet frankly Oslo August 31 is one of the best description of addiction you could ever see.
½ January 5, 2015
Dark and pensive story of a recovering drug-addict reflecting on his life and attempting to put it back together.
The first half of the movie or so is quite gripping and powerful. It introduces the fascinating main character of Anders and explores some deep and thought-provoking themes early on that really pulled me in. I was genuinely interested in how a movie that began so intriguingly and candidly would play out. However, the second half of the movie kind of lost me. Its once thoughtful mood slowly faded and the story just kind of trailed off. Not much interesting happened in this second half--it just kind of stammers on until the end, which doesn't offer much relief.
Overall, I think I understood the themes that the movies was trying to convey and the way they wanted to go about it, and I think they executed that plan well; but I just didn't find it all that compelling of a complete story in the end. I really wished the feeling and depth of the first half carried throughout the rest of the movie, as I felt that this was the best part of the whole movie. But I felt that it just didn't completely follow through with its compelling introduction.
½ June 19, 2012
A much better second film for Joachim Trier, after his technically impressive but muddled debut, Reprise. Oslo, August 31st is a very strong drug addiction drama, that concentrates on the troubles post-recovery. The film has a very steady pace throughout, which is made even more powerful by an ending that is best described as haunting. With this and Headhunters, 2012 might be the year that America finally starts to acknowledge Norwegian cinema.
½ September 8, 2014
the story is as real as it gets and has great dead on performances.
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