I received Kompani Orheim (The Orheim Company) DVD as part of my Christmas present all the way from Norway. The opening title mentions that it is based on a best-seller by Norwegian author Tore Renberg. The story is about Jarle Orheim (played wonderfully by Vebjørn Enger, and Rolf Kristian Larsen) who grew up with a well-meaning but abusive and alcoholic father, Terje (Kristoffer Joner) and a mother, Sara (Cecilie A. Mosli) who tolerated the abuse before she left him ultimately. Many years later, Jarle is awaken by a phone call that tells him that his dad had passed away.
Although it is such a common scenario – the additional storyline about Jarle’s coming-of-age in 1980’s with him dabbling with socialism and communism as a way to get out of the problem at home – gives Kompani Orheim an added angle. More importantly, Terje’s interest (and almost obsession) with how the Norwegian resistance movement managed to stave off the Nazis in World War II, also gives an insight into how Terje views his family. I would love to explain more but that would spoil the essence of the movie and the touching scene at the end of the movie. An additional charm of the movie is the regional Stavanger dialect which almost makes the Norwegian language – Norsk – sound like a totally different language.
The movie is another example of why fathers should not provoke their children to anger by the way that they treat them (Ephesians 6:4) but it’s also a pragmatic portrayal that those battling with alcoholism or addiction do have their side of the story as well. There are those who have a dream of the family that they long for, only to realise that they are fighting a losing battle as the fog of addiction crowds in and robs them of what matters most.
Although Kompani Orheim can be quite depressing, I enjoy the subtle questions that it poses and laments the many fathers out there who do sincerely wish to build a family – a house, a wife, a child or two – only to fight a loosing battle with drugs and alcohol which turns them into monsters.