O'Horten (2007)

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Director: Bent Hamer
Cast: Baard Owe, Espen Skjonberg, Henny Moan


A railway engineer retires and ponders what he will do with the time he has left.

The Review

What is unique about Hamer's film-making, and maybe it is something Norwegian, is the way in which the devastating, defining moments in life can be dealt with so matter of factly. Horten misses his last trip to Bergen, watches as a recent acquaintance passes away, visits his mute mother in a home for the elderly, but rarely does his expression change, and he does not even offer condolences to the brother of the departed. For a film in which by some reckonings nothing much happens, quite a lot happens and it is up to the audience to make the inferences and feel the pain for him. The deadpan surreal humour softens the blow, as does the happy ending, but this is touching material, beautifully underplayed and with plenty to beguile the eye.