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4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The moment the train leaves the station without engineer Odd Horten (Bard Owe) aboard, he realizes the path ahead is a journey without printed timetables and well-known stations. Horten has been forced to retire after 40 years of traveling a very stable rail, and the platform does not feel like a safe place anymore. His orderly, solitary existence is about to give way to a future of unlikely adventures and puzzling dilemmas: will Horten ever travel by plane? Will he finally sell his prized boat? How does Horten end up in a pair of women's red high-heeled shoes? Will he survive a nighttime drive with a blindfolded man at the wheel? O'HORTEN is Bent Hamer's wonderfully skewed view of the human condition, and gives us that somewhat absurdist vision with great warmth, a little melancholy and universal appeal.


Odd Horten is a neat, meticulous, pipe-smoking train conductor, winding up 40 years of service for the Norwegian railways. O'Horten poses the following question: When a man's life has been determined by timetables and clearly-defined journeys along narrow tracks, how does he spend his free hours? Director Bent Hamer provides the answer in this droll comedy, which follows Odd Horten about his final work shifts and then into the uncertain world of retirement. Scandinavian comedies tend toward the deadpan and the melancholic, and Hamer (whose Kitchen Stories was a similarly wonderful exercise) clearly likes working in that vein. It helps that lead actor Baard Owe perfectly fits this style: if Odd Horten is ever troubled or excited by much, it rarely registers across Owe's leathery, imperturbable face. Horten meets the dilemma of buying a new pipe with the same placid curiosity he brings to meeting a stranger who invites him to his home and proposes they test the stranger's theory that he can drive a car with his eyes closed. Why not? Hamer's poker-faced approach is especially useful because it disguises an old-fashioned story of a regimented man waking up to flexibility in the winter of his life, a possibly sentimental theme given a brisk treatment. Odd Horten wouldn't have it any other way. --Robert Horton

Stills from O’Horten (Click for larger image)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ghita Norby, Bard Owe, Tone Bergersen, Espen Skjonberg, Michael Tung
  • Directors: Bent Hamer
  • Producers: Bent Hamer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Norwegian
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 22, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002H6NVPG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,278 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "O'Horten" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sharon Isch TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 26, 2009
Format: DVD
This gorgeously filmed and exceedingly odd tale about a man named "Odd" is very slow moving and probably not a good choice for viewers operating in type A mode. It took me a good while to acclimate to its glacial pace, but I'm glad I finally did.

The movie is set in snow-covered Norway where Odd Horten, a train engineer and man of few words...very, very few words...is about to make his last run on the rails before retirement. Until now, Odd's life has been one of steady-as-he-goes routine, puffing on his pipe, tending to his parakeet, driving his train and visiting his unresponsive mother, the onetime ski jumper, at her nursing home. But now, suddenly, Odd's life is about to become very odd indeed: When he bypasses a locked door to gain access to his own retirement party, he somehow winds up in a strange apartment spending the night in a little kid's bedroom. When he tries to meet with the man who wants to buy his boat, he somehow winds up lost in the middle of an airport runway, with security on his tail. When he goes to get dressed after a swim and sauna, he finds that someone's made off with his boots, leaving him only a pair of bright red high heels to walk home in and, amazingly, they fit.

But it's only after Odd offers to hail a cab for a man lying prone on the sidewalk that things begin to get really really odd and...eventually and, of course, slowly....lead to a most satisfying ending. A great choice for something to watch while snowbound...or wishing you were.

(P.S. Anyone know why a story about someone named Odd Horten would be titled "O'Horten" and not "O. Horten"?)
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Format: DVD
If you loved Kitchen Stories, (Kitchen Stories (Original Swedish/ Norwegian Version with English Subtitles) Salmer fra kjøkkenet), you will love this film. I really loved O'Horten.

Oh this movie moves very slowly. Yes it most certainly plods along at it's own special pace. It is Norwegian, I don't think things move very quickly in Norway in the winter. The story is about Odd Horten (yes his name is Odd - I presume a perfectly normal name in Norwegian) a train engineer that is about to retire after decades of perfect service. He is a boring man, does things exactly the same all the time, full of routine. He is also a very quiet humble person. The director places Odd in strange situations that make him leave his routine.

The cinematography is remarkable. In an early scene, Odd is sitting in the engineer's seat of the train, he's framed by an unusual diamond shape. Later when he is talking with the hotel owner, somebody we sense has more than just a hotel / client relationship with Odd, she is very carefully framed in a cabinet that resembles the train. Subtle moments like this happen throughout the film. It's a small technique that adds so much power to the film. The pacing is just so perfect, slow and methodical. The director never presses forward too quickly; he also never repeats the punch line or key moment or speaks past that moment. I loved the timing. The sets were spartan, reflecting the simple routine life of Odd. Things get much more complicated near the end of the film when he meets a friend; his house is full of clutter.

The director Bent Hamer is simply wonderful.
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Format: DVD
"O' Horten" (2007), Norway's official submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, follows a 67-year-old quiet train driver Odd Horten (Baard Owe) and the people (some of them very strange) he encounters before and after his retirement. The slow and leisurely pace of the film won't be to everyone's taste, but the quirky tone, off-center humor and life-affirming attitudes of the film will appeal to some of the film fans. Perhaps you never saw this bizarre scene of people literally sliding down the street in the cold night of Oslo.

Meet Odd Horten, a pipe-smoking train driver of Norway's Bergen Express. He has been working for the railroad company more than 40 years and he is going to retire this week. On the last day of his job, however, he makes a terrible mistake. He is late for the train. Running impulsively away from the platform (on which he watches his train leaving), Mr. Horten meets people he would not have expected to meet before.

The film is directed by Bent Hamer, whose previous works include "Kitchen Stories and "Factotum," the latter starring Matt Dillon. In his newest film "O' Horten" the Norwegian director has put together a string of apparently unrelated events to suggest our laconic protagonist's past and future. Who is the old landlady at the inn where Horten stays? What happened between him and her? Or what will happen? Everything is open to our imagination.

The film is episodic, and like any episodic films, its pace occasionally lags, but be patient as some episodes (the widow at the tobacco shop, for instance) are really touching. The photography is beautiful, but I am afraid the night shots are sometimes too dark. Again I say this is not a film for everyone, but is recommended for anyone interested in more subdued approach to humor, as well as life, past and future.
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