Film review: Unconventional 'O'Horten' is rather peculiar

Character moments make it worthwhile for patient audiences

Published: Friday, Aug. 7 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

O'HORTEN — ★★★ — Baard Owe, Espen Skjonberg, Bjorn Floberg; with English subtitles (Norwegian dialects); rated PG-13 (brief nudity, mild profanity, mild vulgarity, brief drugs); Broadway Centre

So, the first name of the title character in "O'Horten" is spelled "Odd"? Hmmm …

While the character's name is not pronounced the way it's spelled, it's still a fitting addition to this Norwegian comedy. It's not conventional at all.

And admittedly, the rather luxurious pacing and the low-key, dry tone won't appeal to fans of such recent comedy hits as, say, "The Proposal" or "The Hangover."

But the little character moments do make it worthwhile for more patient audiences.

So, let's get back to Odd Horten, shall we? As played by Baard Owe, he's a train engineer who has reached retirement age.

Unfortunately, the rails are about all know Odd knows. And now he isn't sure what to do with all of his sudden spare time.

He could go see Svea (Henny Moan), a widow who's clearly interested in him. Or perhaps he could visit Flo (Bjorn Floberg), an old friend who wants to buy his boat.

Or perhaps he'll just try to find something completely different.

At first, Odd's various journeys may not seem to have a destination, but screenwriter/director Bent Hamer ("Kitchen Stories") eventually steers both his main character and this rather peculiar film in one direction.

It's not necessarily where you'd expect, mind you, but it works. As does much of the movie.

(A scene in which Odd finds himself in the middle of an airport runway is especially goofy and amusing.)

Of course, it helps that he has veteran Owe as his lead. Much like such beloved comedians as Buster Keaton, his seemingly impassive facial expressions really say a lot.

"O'Horten" is rated PG-13 and features brief glimpses of nudity, scattered mild profanity (mostly religiously based), mildly suggestive references and language, as well as some mildly off-color humor, and brief drug references (hallucinogens). Running time: 86 minutes.

e-mail: jeff@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS