19. Oslo, August 31st
Director: Joachim Trier
Stars: Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, Ingrid Olava
Oslo, August 31st, the unfairly overlooked Norwegian drama from filmmaker Joachim Trier, is the somberly meditative examination of a trouble drug addict's return home that's marred by his worst inner demons shrouding his mind in tragic discomfort. So, yeah, it's pretty much the exact opposite of the kind of film people want to see in the sunny, warm, popcorn-filled days of summer. It's no wonder that more people talked about Adam Sandler's idiotic That's My Boy than Trier's Oslo, August 31st.
That is their massive loss. Led by Anders Danielsen Lie's remarkable performance as the redemption-seeking Anders, Oslo, August 31st soars without ever looking above its main character's world-carrying shoulders. Trier spends the whole of the film's 95 tense minutes analyzing Anders' intense regret and loneliness resulting from a life tainted by mistakes and ruined opportunities. Somehow, though, by the movie's end, Oslo, August 31st finds a poignant happiness in its unpleasantness. That's the mark of an incredibly gifted storyteller, a description that, as evidenced by Oslo, August 31st, suits Trier nicely.