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Oslo, August 31st

Directed by Joachim Trier

Norway, 2011

Cornerhouse, 5 November 2011

Oslo, August 31st

An addict nearing the end of treatment makes his way to the city, Oslo in his case, ostensibly for a job interview.

It is another step on the road to recovery, a reason for hope.  In the course of the day he meets up with old friends, people he has disappointed in the past.  Some don’t want him to change – he’s a free spirit, a beacon beyond their staid bourgeois lives – or don’t believe he can.

Anders Borchgrevink puts in a mesmeric performance as Anders, a man unable to abide himself or the judgement of others.  Drugs may not take you very far or be sustainable as a form of escape, but they do solve a problem.  Once Anders gets clean, the problem –it is called existence, or maybe the world – remains and must be dealt with in some way.

This film addresses what Camus called the one fundamental philosophical question: do you want to live or not?  And it does so in an intelligent and ultimately moving manner.  It’s not one for the happy, slappy, shiny people though.