Sunday, June 28, 2009


I found this Bent Hamer film sad, very sad, even when it is a bittersweet drama about the age of retirement, being a loner –yet not being lonely- and having a very unexpected happy end. I like the so special Nordic humor, but here the jokes and situations were more sad than funny. Then the movie is dark, too dark; I do not mean the humor, but most of the scenes are at night or in dark places and even when some visual compositions were really interesting, the total feeling is that is dark.

But there is a reason for everything, as this movie tells the story of Odd Horten that after 40 years as a locomotive engineer he is retiring. Opening scenes briefly show how orderly his life is and when he is “forced” to have nothing to do, he is lost in many more ways than just the obvious. In what I imagined as a the torment of finding what to do in his life-changing moment, he embarks in a series of odd situations that start the very night when after 40 years all he gets from his colleagues is a silver locomotive that looks more like a trophy! So you will follow him facing the most odd situations you can imagine until the very end that turns around the story to make it totally sweet and happy.

I find the story and film style very similar to Finish Aki Kaurismäki style, as has impeccable production values, great deadpan performances, slowish pace and outstanding very cold cinematography with the most magnificent views of a train riding alone the white surroundings. Obviously in the last happy scene cinematography changes and the transition is visually spectacular.

The film that was screened in the Un Certain Regard at 2007 Cannes and went to collect honors in many awards and fests; definitively not for all audiences as you have to really enjoy Nordic cinema and deadpan performances in visually interesting compositions and cinematography.

I found it too sad –not crying sad, but makes you feel sad- so it is not one movie to watch when you’re feeling blue; but I definitively enjoy it more for the great cold visuals.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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