Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oslo, August 31st

Joachim Trier's "Oslo, August 31st" follows a recovering drug abuser named Anders around the Norwegian capital on an ordinary day during his tenth month in rehab. He invites himself over to some old friends' places (some are happier to see and indulge him than others), leaves a "Swingers"-esque series of voicemails for his ex-girlfriend, and interviews for a job with a media magazine. He also visits his old dealer and buys a gram of heroin, which he may or may not end up injecting, though given Trier's overly deterministic style I'll give you one good guess. Not much really happens, and though Trier gives us several series of silent picture-postcard images of Oslo, they don't convey a real sense of the city or carry the emotional impact of, say, Richard Linklater's beautiful "Before Sunset." Most Hollywood movies clogging the multiplexes are all rising action and climax. "Oslo, August 31st" is the art-house equivalent: It's all denouement.

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