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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.