Coming from Magnolia Pictures and writer/director Hans Petter Moland from the novel by Per Petterson comes the story of the memories we hold and how they catch up when you are OUT STEALING HORSES.
Trond (Stellan Skarsgard) is a man living as quiet a life as you can imagine in 1999 days before the new millennium. His days of routine are about all he does since the loss of a loved one. One evening he meets Lars (Bjorn Floberg) and memories he had put out of his mind coming flooding back.
Young Trond (Jon Ranes) is spending the summer with his father (Tobias Santelmann) in a cabin in the woods in 1948. Hanging out with his friend Jon (Sjur Vatne Brean), the boys make their way through the woods and a boat ride down the river to a band of horses. Quietly they pick their horse and off they ride.
On one particular day, Trond’s father notices something different about Jon and although Trond slowly sees it, he doesn’t understand why. His father explains that there was a terrible accident with his friend’s family. At the funeral Trond sees a young boy in pain.
Trying to take his mind off of it, Trond, his father and Jon’s family begin logging the trees around the cabin. Trond begins to see the complexity of adult relationships and how one tragedy can lead to another and another.
Older Trond starts putting the pieces of his life together trying to give all the events meaning hope that he can find peace in his own way.
Skarsgard as Trond is a man that seems haunted by tragedy that don’t just leave a mark but carves much deeper into his soul. The relationship with his father, mother and friends that should be so simple – are extremely complicated. So much so that Trond is in a small house trying to be small (which is impossible for this very tall actor). It is when he meets Lars does he examine the road it took him to get to this place. Skarsgard is such a treasure of an actor and in this film his role makes that memory process painful yet needed.
Ranes as 15-year-old Trond is a stunner from start to finish. Boyish, charming, painfully disarming and has a mind like a steel trap and we are the bait. His performance is nothing short of impressive and it should be noted as such. The role is a difficult one and he grabs ahold and puts everything in front of us as if you show ‘see this and know why when I’m older’. That is a rare thing to experience in a film and this young actor does it raw.
Santelmann as Trond’s father is a man who is single in thought to my way of thinking. He does not consider the people around him as much as he considers what he personally wants. This is not wasted on his son who slowly discovers the emotional selfishness one adult can have. Curcic as Jon’s mother carries the burden of a son’s pain but also is reckless with her own emotions.
Brean as Jon is absolutely frightening. I don’t know how else to describe his time on screen. Riveting, sad, powerful and frightening. Hagen as Jon’s father shocked me the most although his role is small. Without giving it away you will understand when I say with a grimace ‘wow’.
Floberg as Lars is living the same life as Trond. As much as Trond doesn’t want to see himself in his neighbor, their similarities in attitude and being alone make it clear that tragedy can follow us all until the age of these two men.
Other cast include Gard B. Eidsvold as Franz, Torjus Hopland Volln as Jon’s brother, Anders Baasmo Christiansen as Olav and Maria Alm Norell as Ellen.
Magnolia Pictures is responsible for such releases as SLAY THE DRAGON, JOHN LEWIS: Good Trouble, the crime thriller THE WHISTLERS, documentaries such as THE PIECES I AM and films such as the directorial debut of Italian filmmaker Filippo Meneghetti. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.magpictures.com.
Out Stealing Horses by Norwegian author Per Petterson received international acclaim and this included The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2007. The book has also been translated into more than 50 languages.
OUT STEALING HORSES is a film about the tragic events that happen in our lives and how, as we get older, as much as we would want to hide from it all, the memories are not far behind. Trond has no choice but to come face to face with what happened when he was 15 and how the relationship with his father and friend left their mark.
Hiding from what cannot be changed is something most of us can’t do when it comes to trauma without help. Trond finds it in the most unexpected place. He remembers that love can be painful, friendships can be complicated, and adults can’t always be the way you would like them to be.
This film is an example of the constant complexities of human beings and the crazy choices that are made – sometimes without the thought of how it has a ripple effect. The emotional selfishness of those Trond loves leads him to do the exact same thing without ever realizing the root cause of it all.
This is a 122-minute intense roller coaster that comes to the conclusion that we are all frail and faulted. It is in accepting that frailness and fault that can either make the golden years truly golden, or pewter spray painted with cheap gold coloring – our choice.
In the end – in our memories lies the truth of who we are.