Another dope fiend in rehab. He is given a day's leave to be interviewed for a job in Oslo. So, will he go? Or, instead, will he go thundering through the day and well into the night, careening from one to another problematic encounter.
Thus: 24 hours to find a better, more constructive path. Or to fuck it all up again and change nothing at all.
So, why do people become dope fiends? I suspect that Renton summed it up best in Trainspotting: Take the best orgasm you've ever had...multiply it by a thousand, and you're still nowhere near it.
And then that's juxtaposed to this:Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?
There are just so many godawful potholes in the "modern world" that have to be filled with something. Why not with intense pleasure? As one reviewer noted, "Anders discovers that the world outside is frosty, ambivalent towards him, and most of all banal and meaningless."
And increasingly it is not just "alienated youth" that have come to this conclusion. It's not called "a drug abuse epidemic" for nothing. And not just here in America.
Also, the film explores the transition between "dropping out of society" and the attempt to come back into it again. Especially when so many of the things that made you opt for leaving it are still there. In particular when you are not in the possession of, among other things, any "marketable skills". And even if you do opt for going back there's no guarantee that anyone will want you back.
More then anything the film succeeds in conveying this sense of being tugged in conflicted directions: the straight and narrow...or not?
As for the ending, your reaction is always going to be the same in films like this: given what we've seen so far, does it make any sense? Is it the ending that you'd expect or does it seem to be, among other things, contrived?
Some will be hoping for a "happy ending" here. But, for others, that will only piss them off.
Me, I liked it. Everyone should have this option.
at wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oslo,_August_31st
OSLO, AUGUST 31ST 
Written in part and directed by Joachim Trier
At a drug rehab session, addicts recall when they were not
hooked on dope...I remember taking the first dip in the Oslo fjord on the first of May.....I remember driving into Oslo on Sunday at sunset. The city was completely empty....I remember how tall the trees seemed compared to those in Northern Norway....I remember thinking, "I'll remember this."...I remember dad sitting in the kitchen, smoking. Drinking coffee, listening to the radio....I don't remember Oslo as such, it's people I remember. We moved to the city. We felt extremely mature.....I remember hours on trams, busses, the metro -- walking along endless roads to some mythical party where you never knew whether you were invited or not....I remember how free I felt the first time I came to Oslo. Then I realized how small Oslo is....I remember mom showing me where she once rented a room. There's only offices there now. Every football match I've played was with friends I still have. And that's because I'm from Oslo....I remember his laughter. The scent of salt on her skin. Everyone was sure we'd win.....I remember the disappointment....I remember the first snow. Everyone smoked back then. How he insisted "melancholy" was cooler than "nostalgic". We had so much time on our hands. How my bed didn't fit into the flat.....I remember walking past his flat...I remember having a best friend. I never saw him again....I remember when they tore down the Philips building. It's a parking lot now...
Addict: Well, I'm scared shitless.
Counselor: Scared of the future?
Addict: It's like I'm right back to when I started doing drugs. As if I'm back in primary school emotionally. That black...Void, or... It's like it's back. And the relief from shooting up is gone. So I have serious doubts about how I'm going to live now.
Anders: The past days I haven't had any... I haven't had strong feelings in any direction. I feel tired, but that's because I haven't slept well.
Counselor: You've got a big job interview today. Would you like to talk about it?
Anders: Well, there's not much to talk about.
Anders: We do role playing, psychodrama. It's part of the treatment. The other residents play people in my life, like my sister or you.
Thomas: So a dope head plays me? So how's it done?
Anders: Well, you have to improvise. They stand in a circle, try to tempt me with stuff. "Anders, remember how the dope makes you feel warm inside. You can just smoke it, no need to shoot up." Well, stuff like that, you know. Or they were suppose to tempt me with academic stuff. But they had no idea. "I've got a really awesome book here, a really cool book. Adorno..."
Thomas: Proust said, "Trying to understand desire by watching a nude woman is like a child taking apart a clock to understand time."
Rebecca: Jeez. He's trying to be personal, and you hit him with a quote!
Thomas: So if he's personal, I have to be personal too? But it's been ages since I slept with a Swedish girl.
Rebecca: But his point was the opposite of your Proust quote. He said he didn't feel any desire.
The crux of it [perhaps]:Anders: But it's not about heroin, not really. Look at me. I'm 34 years old. I have nothing. I can't start from scratch. Don't you understand?
Thomas: I know it's not easy...
Anders: I don't want pity.
Thomas: I know that. I'm just saying you can still make it.
Anders: Make what?
Thomas: Lots of stuff. You've got a family to back you up, friends, brains. Like, come on! Look at the others at rehab. They don't have those opportunities.
Anders: Sure, but they're happy to work in a warehouse and have kids with some ex-raver.
Thomas: Be a loser, if that's what you want.
Anders: No it's not what I want. Fuck, I didn't come here to...I don't need you to tell me to get my act together.
Anders: Remember what you once said? "If someone wants to destroy himself, society should allow him to do so."
Thomas: Sounds like something I'd say. I was probably thinking about promoting junk food, or decriminalizing prostitution. I don't know. But you're not...
Anders: I'm a spoilt brat who fucked up. If you're unsentimental about it, nobody needs me. Not really.
Thomas: You expect me to be unsentimental about this?
Anders: No. I'm just trying to...I just want you to understand. If that's how it ends, it's a choice I've made.
Thomas: But you can't go telling me that. That's horrible, Anders. I mean, you mustn't do it, no matter what happens. I can't relate to you telling me you're planning to commit suicide. Is that what you're saying?
[the look on Anders's face: yes]
Thomas: You've had these thoughts before. They've always passed. It's hell while it lasts, but...
Anders: It'll get better. It'll all work out. Except it won't.
Thomas: Oh, come on.
Anders: Come on what?
Thomas: You got through it before. I mean, if you have to look at your life from the outside...If you have the time, like you had. I think anyone would get depressed.
Anders: Well, maybe. But it's pretty fucked up. I see happy people. I've always thought happy people must be morons.
Thomas: They are morons. Obviously.
Anders: Yeah. But you two are happy. And you're not morons, are you?
Thomas: Sometimes I wonder.
Anders: And research is your thing. I never thought it was that thrilling to scrutinize Rilke, dissect sentences, write articles nobody reads. It seems meaningless to me.
Thomas: Well, there goes my existence. Is that how you see my life?
Anders: Sorry. I just... I only meant to say...You're good at all that.
And then it turns out that Thomas is stuck in his own potholes:Thomas [to Anders]: Rebecca and I hardly have sex anymore. Not at all, really. So there we sit, pretending to have fun. Two glasses of wine. That's as good as it gets. Frigging pathetic. After Albert came, I hoped to start writing. But I haven't done shit. Rebecca and I hardly talk anymore. I got a Playstation. We sit and play Battlefield. Drink beer. We accept some invitations, then decide we'd rather stay at home. We tell the babysitter something's come up. We sit there, playing Battlefield. And Rebecca is really brutal. Takes dog tags from other players, then executes them to humiliate them properly.
Anders [at job interview]: Well, you resemble the The Window, which makes it hard to set you apart. Specially when they're better in some areas.
David: Really? Like what?
Anders: You do many things well. But take the article on "Mad Men" and "The Man Without Qualities". It's not a bad idea as such. But there are many of these intellectual articles on HBO TV series and video games. It feels a bit like a media studies paper. You know what I mean? Samantha in Sex in the City seen through Schopenhauer.
David: When I look at your CV, there's almost nothing after 2005.
Anders: Well, there wasn't anything I thought would be relevant.
David: Everything's relevant to us. So what were you doing?
Anders: Did some odd jobs from time to time.
David: Okay. Like what?
Anders: You really want to know?
David: Of course.
Anders: I was a drug addict.
Woman in restaurant [that Anders overhears]: I want to marry, have kids. Travel the world. Buy a house. Have romantic holidays. Eat only ice cream for a day. Live abroad. Reach and maintain my ideal weight. Write a great novel. Stay in touch with old friends. I want to plant a tree. Make a delicious dinner from scratch. Feel completely successful. Go ice bathing, swim with dolphins. Have a birthday party, a proper one. Live to be a hundred. Stay married until I die. Send an exciting message in a bottle and get an equally interesting reply. Overcome all my fears and phobias. Lie watching the clouds all day. Have an old house full of knickknacks. Run a full marathon. Read a book that's so great I'll remember quotes from it all my life. Paint stunning pictures that show how I really feel. Cover a wall with paintings and words close to my heart. Own all the seasons of my favourite shows. Attract attention to an important issue, make people listen to me. Go skydiving, skinny-dipping, fly a helicopter. Have a good job I look forward to every day. I want a romantic, unique proposal. Sleep beneath open skies. Hike on Besseggen, act in a film or play at the National Theatre. Win a fortune in the lottery. Make useful everyday items. And be loved.
Anders [of his parents in voiceover]: He taught me to bike, row, how you can exceed the speed limit by 20% without getting busted. She spoke of adult matters in English She taught me to always floss. To put things back where they belong. They ware both from Oslo. Remembered places we passed. Slightly deaf, he insisted on hearing the absurd: "What do you think is best?" "Got waffles on your chest?" They thought intellecual achievement was superior to sports success. They were sympathetic to celebrities who protected their privacy. They made me a critical reader, contemptuous of the less eloquent. But anyone I brought home got a warm welcome. They never missed the evening news. He took a test, then proudly told us he had an artistic personality. He said people who valued military experience were dull. She held a tolerant view on drugs. He wanted to ban barbecuing in parks. Democracy was just the best alternative. She thought Bardot should help people, not animals. They respected my privacy. Maybe too much. They taught me religion is a weakness. I don't know if I agree. They never taught me to cook or build a relationship, but they seemed happy. They never told me how friendship dissolves Until you're strangers, friends in name only. They let me be picky about food. She said I could do as I wished. Decide what to be, who to love, where to live. They would always help me. They were stricter with my sister than with me.
So, what does that explain?Girl [in bar]: What do you do?
Anders: What I do? You think that's interesting?
Girl: Of course.
Anders: Well, I don't think it matters much.
Girl: But what do you do? You have to tell me.
Anders: Why? I don't do anything. I'm...I'm just a loser. Drinking to ease the pain.
Girl: You mean like every day?
Anders [on phone]: Hi Iselin. It's me again. It's late where you are. I thought you might be out or something. It's nothing really, I just wanted to...I didn't mean all the things I said earlier. But by now you probably knew. I just wanted to talk to you one last time, but... Well...I hope you're okay. I'm sorry.
We know what's coming.