Oslo, August 31st

Oslo, August 31st ★★★★½

I have to say, and I'm probably going to get a lot of hate for saying this, that I find Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream a bit overrated. I don't think it's bad, but it is way too over the top for me to be an effective film about addiction. Thankfully, Danish-Norwegian director Joachim Trier has made a film about addiction without any pretensions that comes off not only as a great depiction of a man struggling to reestablish himself in the real world, but also of life in the city, in this case Oslo, told in a very down-to-earth manner.

The director is the true star here, as he not only gets great performances out of his actors, but through a good use of close-ups, flashbacks and wide shots, it is made possible to feel what our main character, Anders, goes through during the course of the 24 hours that this film takes place in. A great example of this is in a scene where Anders wakes up in a park during the evening, and the wide shot shows how the trees are closing in on Anders, which further enhances the claustrophobic feeling that we have felt throughout the film, as Anders' attempts at living a normal life again ends up with him getting closed off from such a life. In that sense, it is great that the director found a way to make the city a living "character" as well in this film. But it is not just pure seriousness that seeps through this film, as I found the dialogue amusing, especially when Anders and his friends are mocking the academic world, where I can relate to their discussions out of my own experience.

The only thing that bothered me about the film is, as a result of its timeframe, that it at times could feel a bit rushed in certain parts, and I would have liked to spend more time with the classical music parts, as I sometimes felt they were introduced, and then suddenly ended a bit abruptly.

In conclusion, this is an excellent film about addiction and the consequences that comes along with it, whilst also being a great portrayal of contemporary city life, that to me works magnificently, as it manages to tell a profound story while still keeping its feet on the ground.

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