Oslo, August 31st (2012)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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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Movie Info

Thirty-four-year-old Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) is a fortunate, but deeply troubled man battling drug addiction. As part of his rehabilitation program, he is allowed to go into the city for a job interview, but instead uses the opportunity as a way to drift around and revisit old friends. The day grows increasingly difficult as he struggles to overcome personal demons and past ghosts for the chance at love and a new life. -- (C) Official Site
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Anders Borchgrevink
as Oystein (Man at Bar)
Hans Olav Brenner
as Thomas (Friend)
Aksel M. Thanke
as Rehab Counselor
Tone B. Mostraum
as Tove (Sister's Girlfriend)
Ingrid Olava
as Rebekka (Thomas' Wife)
Oystein Roger
as David (Editor)
Tone Beate Mostraum
as Tove (Sister's Girlfriend)
Kjaersti Odden Skjeldal
as Mirjam (Woman Hosting Party)
Andreas Braaten
as Karsten (Dealer)
Johanne Kjellevik Ledang
as Johanne (Woman Anders Meets)
Emil Stang Lund
as Calle (Man Hosting Party)
Renate Reinsve
as Petter's Date
Tone Beate Mostraum
as Tove (Sister's Girlfriend)
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Critic Reviews for Oslo, August 31st

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (29)

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.

Full Review… | June 14, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | January 8, 2013
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | August 31, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

[Displays] an invigoratingly acute understanding of the psychology of insecurity, longing, defensiveness and inward-turning rage.

Full Review… | August 30, 2012
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

"Oslo, August 31st" is quietly, profoundly, one of the most observant and sympathetic films I've seen.

Full Review… | August 29, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A coolly observed yet boundlessly compassionate day in the life of a recovering drug addict, "Oslo, August 31st" breaks your heart many times over.

Full Review… | August 28, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

"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.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Jonathan Hutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

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