Anders (Danielsen Lie) was once a promising writer, blessed with talent and a supportive family, but brought low by his hunger for hard living and harder drugs. Fresh from rehab he heads to Oslo for a job interview. But can he pick up the pieces?
Recent events in Norway may cast this exquisitely sober film in a more depressing light than was intended, but those who see past the shadow of Anders Behring Breivik will find plenty to relish in Joachim Trier’s grown-up drama. Oslo, August 31st stars Anders Danielsen Lie as Anders, a former drug addict trying to (re)build his once brilliant promise as a writer. Sobriety is hard, and much of the tension in this economical and assured second feature comes from the tightrope Anders walks between common sense and temptation. It’s fair to say that all does not go smoothly, but Trier deftly avoids melodrama and Lie invests what could have been an unsympathetic role with humanity, humour and dignity.
Talented Norwegian Joachim Trier - distant cousin to the better-known (and Danish) Lars - delivers a wonderful, melancholy character piece that's funny and tender, and as fresh as a breath of Oslo sea air.
Reviewed by Damon Wise