A three-part story of Norway's worst terrorist attack in which over seventy people were killed. 22 July looks at the disaster itself, the survivors, Norway's political system and the lawyers who worked on this horrific case.
In Norway on 22 July 2011, right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 young people attending a Labour Party Youth Camp on Utøya Island outside of Oslo. A three-part story. About the survivors of the attacks, the political leadership of Norway, and the lawyers involved.Written by
Ulf Kjell Gür
When Viljar is in the sports arena, saying he has 8 weeks, there is a blue sign behind him reading SJÓVÁ. It's the name of a Icelandic insurance company, revealing that this scene is shot on Iceland. See more »
July 22, rather than being a film about just the terror attack itself, spends most of its screentime on its consequences.
Due to such a misleading title I can't say that the film met my expectations, though it still being a remarkable work.
We know Greengrass for directing excellent action-thrillers based on actual events (other than three Bourne films): United 93, Captain Phillips and Bloody Sunday are all accounts set in narrow time frames, that focus mainly on the action and have a documentaristic style.
When I first heard of '22 July', I thought it would be another action-thriller, focusing mostly or esclusively on the attack itself. The title seemed to suggest this too. I particularly liked United 93, so I really hoped for this film to follow that style. When, at the 30 minutes mark, the part focusing on the actual attack ended, I felt a bit disappointed.
Around three quarters of the film focus on the aftermath of the event, probably to differentiate it from another film being released this year that is also about the 22 July terrorist attack, but focuses solely on the events that occured on the island. This choice allows however some depth to the film, and introduces some deeper political subthemes that an action-thriller film would have not been able to tackle.
A central theme of the movie, for instance, is right-wing extremism, a very actual topic in Europe and western society of nowadays.
The entire film is composed by two parallel narratives, one focusing on the perpetrator and the other on one of the victims. The two narratives have two meeting points, when the two characters they're focused on meet for the first time, and towards the end of the film. The parallelism is very strong in most of the scenes of the film, another remarkable aspect.
I particularly appreciated the choice of using norvegian actors for all the roles, an element that added realism. The actor portraying the terrorist did a particularly good performance.
So, don't expect to watch a thriller, but rather a "based on real events" film directed by maybe the best living filmmaker that had a past in war-reporting journalism.
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