Award-winning Norwegian writer-director Bent Hamer returns to his native land, having recently completed his first English-language feature, Factotum, based on the novel by renowned poet and author Charles Bukowski.
O’ Horten (the “O” stands for the commonly used Norwegian first name “Odd’) is another whimsical foray into the absurd irrationalities of the mind. The film is a gently deadpan comedy that exudes a real affection for its eccentric central character.
After forty long, hardworking years, sixty-seven-year-old Odd Horten (veteran actor Bård Owe, frequently cast by Lars von Trier) retires from his dutiful, comfortably routine position as a train engineer.
With his new-found freedom and lack of daily structure, Horten finds it increasingly difficult to adapt to his new and unruly existence as a pensioner. Little does he know that his uneventful way of living is about to take an invigoratingly quirky turn, as he will soon discover that life still has much more in store for him.
Instead of sitting back and enjoying his well-earned retirement, he finds himself wedged in the centre of gradually more awkward affairs. Horten becomes increasingly involved in the bizarrely unconventional as he meets new friends, rekindles old flames, wears sexy red high heels and finds himself accepting a ride from a blindfolded automobile driver.
O’ Horten is an intimately crafted slice-of-life tale that is both sincere and absurd. The film injects a comedically straight-faced sense of humour into its humane, sympathetic narrative and appropriately inventive stylistic sensibility. Owe’s intriguingly amiable appearance, well-intentioned attitude and overall charismatic demeanor provide an even greater sense of elegance and vitality, making O’ Horten an all the more gratifying and unique cinematic experience.