With “O’ Horten,” “Factotum” filmmaker Bent Hamer gives us another look at the daily routine of a man at odds with the world around him, except this film is much lighter fare compared to the Bukowski tale of sex, booze and misery. You could take your grandma to see “O’ Horten.” “Factotum,” not so much.
This Norwegian film finds train conductor Odd Horten uncertain of what to do with himself upon retiring after 40 years of service. And so, still decked out in his conductor uniform, Odd moseys about town running into little misadventures as he attempts to visit old friends, his ailing mother and just basically tries to blend in with a world that has passed him by while he toiled away most of his life in trains and train stations. But they’re charming misadventures, delightful little kerfuffles such as an airport strip search and a late night swim with lesbians. If this is what happens when one reaches his autumn years, then I’m going to take a nap for a few decades.
Complimenting this quirky tale is the man himself, Odd, played by Bard Owe who comes off as a very warm and kind person and his performance makes you want to follow him on his uncertain course. Odd is not a blundering fool, he’s just a little out of place on the street and you care for him…you also can’t help but giggle as he stumbles through his daily activities.
Ever get that feeling when you’re just pleased with everything around you? You’re happy, comfortable and you feel that life is good. “O’ Horten” is a lot like that. There may not be much in the way of a plot here, but rather it’s just quality time spent with an interesting man during an interesting time in his life.