In considering common threads which unite the great characters in fiction, from Raskolnikov to Emma Bovary to Mearsault, it is clear that anomie is at the root of it. From its origins in labour theory, Émile Durkheim’s “social disorder” has come to encompass a very specific facet of psychological anguish, one which results from a veritable wedge between the consciousness of the individual and the collective norms of society. The anomic individual wanders as a spectre in an unfamiliar land, disengaged from the world around him/her, in a quest to attain some sort of meaning or identity. For Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie), this apathetic wasteland is Oslo, appropriately grey, muted, and indifferent. His journey through a single day and night in the capital, surrounded by ghosts of his past and premonitions of his future, speaks not only as an elegy to a misspent youth of addiction, but to a sense of self irrevocably and paradoxically woven with the destructive forces which sustain it.
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