Film Study – O’Horten

O’Horten is a very unusual film by the Norwegian film director Bent Hamer. The whole film explores the fact (premise) that almost everything comes too late in life – therefore nothing comes too late. The very solid structure of the film is hidden from the viewer. Scenes seem chaotic and weird but in reality, each one has an exact place in the script. The famous icy road scene is a perfect example. It seems to be there just to entertain the viewer but in fact, it’s there to make the final decision of the main protagonist even harder to achieve. Also, it is there to shift from the reality of the main protagonist and transcend to abstraction.

The protagonist doesn’t really know what he wants almost the whole film. He has a boat but is too rigid to use it so in a way he thinks he doesn’t deserve it. Led by an impulse he decides to sell it but changes his mind as he still hopes that he will enjoy it one day. But that day is shifting away. His change is triggered by tiny incidents, but he is the one who provokes them and that is why he deserves the change at the end.