"At this point in time at Cannes, anything that puts a smile on your face is really something to be cherished." - Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan when commenting on O'Horten
With the tragicomedy O'Horten, Norwegian writer-director Bent Hamer (Factotum, Kitchen Stories) returns to his domestic landscapes, off-beat humanism and stylistic quirks of earlier works. The bittersweet episodic tale of an ultra-dedicated locomotive engineer uneasily transitioning into retirement provides warm and gently humorous entertainment.
At the age of 67, loner (but not lonely) Odd Horton (Bard Owe) is forced to step down from his engine-driving job. An encounter with Trygve Sissener (Espen Skjonberg), an elderly gent with a cheerful "it's never too late" philosophy, inspires Horten to finally take off his uniform and open himself to things he never previously tried.
Reviewers praise John Kaada's music across the board. Variety calls it "outstanding." His score focuses on calm melodies played on exotic instruments, many of which he built himself. Kaada is himself an accomplished classical musician, touring with various chamber orchestras and performing at festivals.
O'Horten was Norway's Academy Award entry for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009.