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After seeing Reprise some years ago I had been eagerly awaiting for Joachim Trier's next film. Loosely based on the same novel Louis Malle's Le Feu Follet is based on by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, Oslo, August 31st retells this story for the new age. By no means this movie happens to be a remake. The movie happens to have some similar basic elements here and there, as well as different encounters for the main character played this time out by Anders Danielsen Lie who was also happened to be one of the leads in Reprise who this time around plays a wonderful role on his own .
This is a story about a 34 year old recovering drug addict who has screwed up his life due to excessive partying, doing heavy drugs and alienating his loved ones that at his age he finds himself stuck and unable to move forward in his life. As he's about to finish his rehab stint, he's allowed to go into town for a job interview and in the process he decides to use this opportunity to visit old friends and relatives which in a way ends up making matters much worse for him. With all his old friends now married with children and successful careers he feels completely useless and overwhelmed. As he's end up being given the sympathetic pep talks, or being lectured at by unsympathetic characters who are trying to protect themselves throughout the day he finds himself challenging their personal views head on while struggling to convey his frustrations that no one seems to fully understand yet take personally.
In my opinion there's not much to compare Oslo, August 31st to Le Feu Follet. Louis Malle's version (1963) which I am a huge fan of is one of those cinematic gems that story-wise packs a punch. Le Feu Follet also stands next to other classic black and white pictures like Fellini's 8 ½ as one of the best looking black and white movies ever made and I highly recommend everyone to see it.
Oslo, August 31st in itself has an entirely different approach and has a more melancholic feel throughout the film. With almost 50 year gap difference from Le Feu Follet to be told as a modern day tale this story depicts modern day tactlessness that society potentially sees these situations as almost insignificant when dealing with recovering addicts. Sure, maybe some people will try to try and understand but the world is also more likely to let a person deal with his/her own demons for they can't be bothered and even distance themselves for they have their own problems to deal with no matter how much a friend or a loved one really needs their help to get through life.
Oslo, August 31st has been called a "Devastating and Heartbreaking" Film by some, and I agree. If you're expecting to see another Reprise this might probably not be it, but it could be just as great of a film depending on the person. I will even go as far as to say this can be a total "hit and miss" for some viewers. To me this is still a beautiful film that really moved me and made me feel sad watching it. I will definitely be on the lookout for the DVD when it finally comes out for sale. Overall, make sure to watch this movie with an open mind then make your own opinion. 7 out of 10.
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