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

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

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.