After devastating terror attacks in Norway, a young survivor, grieving families and the country rally for justice and healing. Based on a true story.
Information Page: https://www.newonnetflix.info/info/80210932
On 22nd July 2011 a right-wing activist, Anders Behring Breivik, detonated a homemade bomb in Oslo, Norway killing 8 and injuring over 200 people. Later that day he drove 35km dressed as a police officer to the small island of Utøya where Norway’s Labour Party were running a youth camp. At the camp he went on a killing spree shooting dead 69 people and injuring a further 33.
That opening paragraph is a brief, but factual, account of what happened in Norway on that fateful day and makes up the opening half hour of “22 July” – a Netflix Film by Paul Greengrass (“United 93”, “Captain Phillips”). The events, while intense and hard hitting, are handled sensitively so as not to glorify it’s perpetrator, Breivik – something that this kind of film can do if not handled correctly. After seeing distressed parents trying to locate their children and the obvious upset for those who have lost loved ones, the film moves on to it’s main storyline.
Although filmed in Norway with Norwegian actors, the film is entirely in English. This did seem odd initially but I made the assumption that more people would likely watch the film, and thus hear the story, if it was in English rather than in their native language. Agree or disagree, this is what we have but I personally think it works in this instance.
The film is not so much about the shootings but about the children and families moving forward and the moral difficulties faced by Breivik’s defence lawyer (who makes it clear that he does not agree with any of Breivik’s actions). The main focus is the rehabilitation of Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli) who was injured during the attack while protecting his younger brother.
It’s a difficult film to write about without telling the whole story but what I will say is that Greengrass does an excellent job at telling the victim’s stories and making it clear that Breivik and his far-right ideals are despised. The personal stories and the political stories are woven together throughout the 2hours 24min to give a satisfying conclusion to the film while still making it clear that there is a lot of healing still required for the characters.
“22 July” turned out to be a very different film to what I had expected from the trailer but it was a satisfying film. It is well written, well acted and well worth your time – although it can be a hard watch at times, especially if you have children of your own.
This is not the story of a terrorist attack. This is the story of families, and a nation, overcoming adversity.
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!