As the late Amy Winehouse discovered, offers of a visit to rehab often get received with a `no, no, no'. Well in this case Anders played by Anders Danielson-Lie, is in rehab, whilst he is successfully completing the course it is obvious that he is just going through the motions and sobriety, which can be depressing at the best of times, has left him feeling worthless. So he fills his pocket with stones and jumps in a lake - which sort of fails miserably.
After drying off he is given a pass to go to Oslo for a job interview and a day out, so off he goes. The problem is that he comes from Oslo and all his old `friends' are still there. They have moved on with their lives whereas he has been in a downward spiral of drug abuse for years. He doesn't even have good times to show as most of it was an intoxicated blur. The interview goes badly and Anders slowly goes back to what he knows will give him solace.
This is not the first film to say drugs are bad, it is not the first to deal with suicidal tendencies or a mid life crisis, but it is different all the same. Anders has a series of conversations with the old friends he meets and what at first seems to be the perfect marriage is soon revealed to be a marriage of endured compromise. Jobs that could appear glamorous are merely a means to an end. The revelation that the whole world is rubbish is probably not what Anders wants. But it is what he deserves, because this is all about life choices. He admits to being a spoilt brat and there are references to his caring parents throughout, especially as to how much he has cost them.
He is very hard to like as a person, but it is a credit to director Joachim Trier that he still manages to engage us with someone who is a selfish drug user and dealer. It is from the book by the late Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, and so this must be a real labour of love to have taken such an old story and set it in a modern context
This is in Norwegian and runs for just over an hour and a half; it will not be to everybody's taste as some would call it a slow burner or `lyrically paced'. This is not an action film it is a study of self awareness, delusion and a wasted life. The rare glimmers of hope and even redemption have to be relished when they come as they are few and far between, that aside this is still a very original piece of cinema that will probably not get the real attention it deserves.