O' Horten

"Very Good"

O' Horten Review


Norwegian filmmaker Bent Hamer is nothing if not an individualist. Slow and sly, his films focus on the common man in such an offbeat and challenging way that it's clear he has as little regard for commercial gain as he has for cinematic spectacle. That is to say, his minimalist world is an acquired taste. My conversion came about with his more than quirky Kitchen Stories of 2003.

Hamer builds his central characters around the minutest details of a man's routine, and he loves characters who have sealed themselves into a life of stolid isolation. Here, 67-year-old train engineer Odd Horten (Baard Owe) is placed by the auteur in an Oslo apartment a few yards from the city streetcar that whips by in blurred frenzy outside his window, a sudden and loud contrast to the undisruptable quiet within.

The resident stands apart from the shrill outside by the utter simplicity and exactitude of his life and his job. He's a man with the right temperament for hour upon hour of conducting a train over miles of track. That he is disposed to steady concentration in his little capsule of an engine room, and that he will perform his job to perfection, are givens.

His fellow engineers respect and admire him for it, and know well their colleague's monastic idiosyncrasies as they hold a dinner to honor his retirement. Expecting very little from him in response, they push him to accept an award for his 40 years of service along with a little camaraderie that tests his social graces. As a consequence, the tone of the occasion is more melancholy than celebratory.

But peculiar things occur to a Hamer hero even though the expectation of anything overtly dramatic is nil. Old Horten runs into Trygve Sissener (Espen Skjonberg), a man roughly the same age who challenges his version of oddness. Sensing Horten's kindred spirit, Sissener invites the retired trainmaster to his home to show off his trophies of travel and adventure. Pride of accomplishment jumps to another plane, however, when the host informs his guest that he's always had this ability to see with his eyes shut, and probably still does. Wanting to prove it, he takes Horten for a drive with his head in a bag. Where this goes exactly is not to be revealed here, but it has to do with that dog in the poster photo.

In a world where social activity is a standard, the hermetic eccentric is an island of whimsical singularity, offering to substitute one's thirst for thriller entertainment with the quietude of understated satire. The picture's title O' Horten isn't, of course, a stab at turning a Norwegian Irish, but just the way they put what we would render as "O. Horten." Ever the sly one, that Hamer.

Aka O'Horten.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Bulbul Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Alexandre Mallet-Guy,

Starring: as Odd Horten, Espen Skjønberg as Trygve Sissener, Ghita Nørby as Mrs. Thøgersen

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.