Oslo, August 31st (2012)
Critic Consensus: An upfront study of a drug addict confronting his demons, Oslo, August 31st makes this dark journey worthwhile with fantastic directing and equally fantastic acting.
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as Oystein (Man at Bar)
as Thomas (Friend)
as Rehab Counselor
as Tove (Sister's Girlfriend)
as Rebekka (Thomas' Wife)
as David (Editor)
as Mirjam (Woman Hosting Party)
as Karsten (Dealer)
as Johanne (Woman Anders Meets)
as Calle (Man Hosting Party)
as Petter's Date
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Critic Reviews for Oslo, August 31st
The beauty is in the array of animated faces in Anders' life. And it's in the simple promise and vitality of Anders' face, which serves the film without any regard for being in a film, let alone a tragedy or a poetic vision of darkness and futility.
With a predilection for long takes, alternating between tripod setups and handheld camera work that's reflective of Anders' unease, Trier presents life as an unceasingly tepid stream of the mundane -- with an occasional, exquisite pinprick of hope.
The movie transpires mostly in quiet, engrossing dialogue scenes, and its austere style shares a good deal in common with the protagonist, who seems both opaque and completely exposed.
[Displays] an invigoratingly acute understanding of the psychology of insecurity, longing, defensiveness and inward-turning rage.
"Oslo, August 31st" is quietly, profoundly, one of the most observant and sympathetic films I've seen.
Audience Reviews for Oslo, August 31st
A poignant character study, melancholy 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, and it relies on a compelling performance by Anders Danielsen Lie.
"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.
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.
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