22 July

22 July (Paul Greengrass, 2018) 143 minutes

Anders Danielsen Lie, Jonas Strand Gravli

A three-part story of Norway's worst terrorist attack in which over seventy people were killed ... looks at the disaster itself, the survivors, Norway's political system and the lawyers who worked on this horrific case. IMDb.

The working title of this was Norway, and 22 July is not much more specific. It's as if the distributors didn't want it to sell, and indeed there are arguable reasons why it should not exist. And that the name of the mass murderer should be forgotten.

It appears to have been made in Norway, with a completely Norwegian cast, but the dialogue is all in English. I guess anglophones expect films to be in their language, no matter who is supposed to be speaking.

There are three parts to it, with the second and third stories cross-cut concurrently. The first part is the 'best' because it's action, and Greengrass is good at directing shoot-em-up stuff.

Then there's the tedious courtroom drama of the prosecution of the perpetrator on the one hand, and the tedious recovery of one of the victims on the other ... and I think he has a girlfriend - to fulfil the second rule of HW films: that there must be a love interest. (The first one is that the central character/s must be in jeopardy.) Greengrass (as writer) has obviously chosen to tell the story of only one of the many victims, as he believes that's all his audience can manage to deal with. Maximum empathy, maximum catharsis.

Why should it not exist? I can imagine extreme rightists getting together with pizza and beer to watch the first hour over and over again.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 10 March, 2019 | Now: 30 March, 2020