Oslo does well to modernize the visual language of a chamber drama, given that it is derived from a well-known Broadway production. The montage of Terje taking the guests from the airport across the magnificent Norwegian wilderness is set to a melancholy score early on. The design isn’t haphazard. Both Palestinians and Israelis scarcely give themselves a glance of the peaceful countryside, almost as if the environment’s casual openness would reduce – or mock – their reverence for and struggle for land. The sessions have an optical arc as well. The first one does not show the men at work, instead revealing them enjoying dinner and beverages outside the discussion room. IMDB
Despite its deft direction and performances, however, something about Oslo doesn’t feel quite right. Like its Norwegian heroes, the film acts as a diplomat on its own. It aspires to convey an objective view of a traditional struggle – a noble goal on paper, especially given the Norwegians’ standing as “outsiders.” However, depending on the circumstances, taking a neutral attitude might often equate to taking a side. Framing a film like this in isolation – where the causes of the PLO revolt are rarely addressed under the guise of mutual improvement – contradicts the story’s seeming sense of sympathy in its protagonists. It reminds me of a Steven Spielberg film.