22 July (2018)
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The first half of this movie is pretty good actually, albeit the way it is cut together bothered me. The timeline in which all this happens feels like a couple of days, but it took months. The attack itself took hours, but yet it feels like minutes. It sort of brought me out of the story, because i know this story really well, being a Norwegian, and reading all about this, following the trial and the events surrounding all of this, it was really distracting to see that Greengrass was in a rush to get from one scene to the next.
I'm not saying the movie should have been 5 hours long to depict all of this more accurately, but at least make it clear how much time is spent between the scenes. The way this movie is cut, it felt like the trial started one week after the attack on the island.
So i kept hanging in there, i liked the acting, i liked the directing, but when we crossed the half-way mark i started to dislike a lot of the things i saw, the rush to get through the trial, the creative freedoms they chose to implement, the acting slowly got worse for some weird reason, and the spoken English also got worse the closer we approached the end. The actors in this film are mostly Norwegians, and it's painful to listen to when we can't make the language sound more authentic. But the weird thing is, it sounded more authentic in the first half of the movie.
Overall this movie does tell the basics about this dreadful event, i personally know people that was on the Island during this attack, and i think the movie pays proper respects to them, i do. But i also have to see this as a movie, which it is. And then I'm not so impressed, this is not Greengrass at his best, but it's a fairly good film overall, and the first half is really intense. This movie could easily have been 20-30 minutes longer, the content is there, no short cuts was needed to make this movie, it only makes the event less terrifying in my opinion.
6/10 - Fair
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.
The film details the horrific attacks in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik. The acting is uniformly excellent. The movie goes along at a good pace. Very intense at the beginning with the explosion and then the attack on the island.
Breivik acts very cleverly in getting onto the island where the high school youth leadership program is happening by pretending to be a police officer. He also persuades the program director to call all the youth together so that he can brief them. This feels a little contrived but real enough that someone could be tricked in this way. The uncertainty of not knowing what is going on back in Oslo other than the fact that a bomb went off near the PM's office would make it plausible.
The fact that the security director becomes suspicious is also plausible and seemed very real and the starting point for the murders was shocking but expected.
When the students start running and trying to find a place to hide made the island feel tiny and claustrophobic. The action was very realistic but not overdone. The calculated manner that Breivik followed his victims and murdered them was again very shocking.
The second act with the initial arrest and pre-trial action showed Breivik to have carefully and cleverly thought out his actions from beginning to end. The explosions, shootings, surrender, his manifesto, choice of lawyer all seemed well planned. I do not know if Breivik was as intelligent, cool and collected as portrayed in the film but he was consistent in his actions throughout the film.
The reactions of the survivors, parents and friends seemed real too. I won't say more about this as I do not want to give the whole film away.
I really enjoyed this film and do not understand why the ratings by the public are so low. I may read some of the other reviews to see. It may have been the violence, the flashbacks and the coldly calculated actions by Breivik were hard to watch for may people but the violence is a bit less than many films like Saving Private Ryan. I hope this film does well at the box office and that people will think about some of the messages that the far right is promoting right now.
All the actors are norwegian but they all speak English with different success. This is a very bad move and honestly takes away so much of the film.
I love Paul Greengrass for making movies that feels real, with a documentary feeling like Bloody Sunday or United 93 but this time it just flat fails in most everything. Only thing that actually saves from a disaster it is because some of the actors despite English etc are doing a good job.
If you wanna feel something and then that is something really powerful go watch Erik Poppes film about the attack from this spring.
The first 20-30 minutes of this movie will be the most disturbing scenes you'll see on Netflix in many years since "Beasts of no nation" was released there. The cinematography and acting makes it a both hyper-realistic and sickening but also a sad and beautiful movie about hope and strength.
The casting of Anders Danielsen Lie as Breivik is perfect, he gives us the exact same coldness and looks like we all saw in the eyes of the real massmurderer on tv. The recreation of scenes we all saw so many times in the news, the horrible scenes on Utøya island, in the courtroom, and Ila prison, etc is very realistic. All the victims do a great job too.
This is a must-see.
This movie is a masterpiece.
Otherwise pretty good cast, visual effects, and the storyline is true to the actual attack.
The movie is a bit long, at the same time I don't know what I would have removed.
The actors did a fantastic job and I do not recall the last time I felt so emotionally affected by a movie. The choice of having the actors speak English seemed a little odd at first, but I am glad that was the way it was chosen since reading subtitles would have taken focus away from the excellent performances that were display (especially by the lead survivor actor). By the end, I grew to respect the people and the country of Norway even more, which perhaps was the best thing the movie could have achieved for the victims and survivors.
Also, the language is inconsistent. Sometimes the road signs and other writings are in English, sometimes in Norwegian (Oslo City Center as a road sign and POLITI on the police uniforms). At Utøya island in the beginning of the movie, the kids are singing a Norwegian song in front of the camp fire, whilest all dialogue is in English. All of this makes the language desition even more confusing.
The reason I've spent so much of the review stressing this is because it actually lowers the quality of the viewing experience substantially.
I read an interview with Greengrass, explains his language desition simply with "I don't speak Norwegian, so it would have been hard to direct". That, to me, is too weak an explanation. Take director Mel Gibson as an example; both "Passion of the Christ" and "Apocalypto" are films with non-English speakers.
My final comment on why the movie should have been in Norwegian, is because this is an important, powerful and horrific story that needs to be told. The way Norway, as a country, came together in the aftermath. That the event constitutes one of the worst national tragedies, makes a strong argument as to why the actors, who portray real people, living and dead, should have been speaking their first language. It would have made the performances more genuine and believeable.
This wasnt't supposed to be a long review, but oh well.
As for the acting, I think it's mostly very good. Portraying real people who have been through something like this, is a difficult job. I think Jonas Strand Gravli, who portrays Viljar, makes a very good leading role debut. Both respectful to the real Viljar and a powerful performance as an actor. I also thought Anders Danielsen Lie was impressive as Breivik. Cold and calculated, and in my opinion a pretty accurate portrayal.
The movie is based on the book "One of Us" by Åsne Seierstad. Since I have read it, I noticed quite a few factual strays. Of course, the movie is based on a book, and is not a documentary, so this is to be expected. I am however, agreeing with someone who wrote that the shooting at Utøya seemed to last only 5 minutes. Erik Poppes movie "Utøya" who also came out this year, paints a more accurate picture of how long the minutes seemed for the victims.
There is not a doubt in my mind that this movie would have been so much better if the actors spoke Norwegian. I was unfortunately not able to forget about it completely during the movie, and it distracted me from enjoying it completely. (As much as one can enjoy a movie of this character).
I think although that the movie will be more popular with international audiences due to Greengrass' choice of making it English speaking. It is an important story to tell. This movie tells it with respect.
One of my main worries going in was that the Norwegian-English dialect would distract me throughout the entire movie, but I quickly forgot about this a couple of minutes in due to the strong performances, particularly from Anders Danielsen Lie who portrayed mass murderer Breivik.
As a Norwegian I have to say the first 40 minutes were completely horrifying to watch. Seeing the preperation for the attacks and it actually happening (again) pulled me right back to that day, and although it was gruesome, I have to say that Paul Greengrass handled it extraordinary well. The entire segment had a constant «thumping» sound in the background which made the movie feel exciting, almost making me forget this actually happened. I guess this can be both negative and positive, but I don't think anyone could have done it better.
However, the attacks are only a small part of the movie, as most of the film tackles the aftermath. I think an international audience will find it interesting to see how our society reacted and how selfish Breivik was with his actions. One scene I remember in particular is when Breivik is being interrogated by the police, and complains about a cut on his finger that he had supposedly gotten from a skull fragment after shooting one of his victims. It was very disturbing, and it shocks me how un-sympathetic of a man he was and still is.
Greengrass did a good job of following Viljar's (Jonas Strand Gravli) story and making him the symbol of every surviving victim and affected family. I'm glad he put most of the focus on those affected, and I think this is particularly important for us Norwegians who for the most part refer to the attack and the trial when talking about 22 July.
If you're expecting another classic «along for the ride» action-thriller by Greengrass, this is not it. In comparison to his other «based on a true story» movies like «United 93» and «Captain Phillips», the heartpounding, shaky-cam action style we have all come to love ends after 40 minutes, and in the case of this particular story I believe this was the right choice.
All in all, a gruesome and detailed account of the attack, the aftermath and those involved... but a very good one.
22 JULY is a good movie, and if im gonna keep it short i would say its worth watching. I didnt enjoy watching the movie, but i found it interesting. They had a whole story around the attack. The bomb, the shooting and the damage it caused to people after Anders Behring Breivik was arrested. I liked the way Paul Greengrass directed this movie, but there are a couple things i didnt enjoy at all. For example i didnt like that he had Norwegians act as Norwegians talking English with eachother. Norwegians talking English isnt the prettiest thing, and if im being honest it sounds quite horrible. Im saying that being a Norwegian myself.
First of all they make it seem as if the attack lasted mere minutes, when in actuality Breivik unleashed his wrath over the victims for over an hour before he was ultimately stopped. I didn't like some events being so rushed and then a lot of filler material used to add more time to the already quite long screentime.
Secondly, in my opinion, there was an overwhelming focus on one particular family, who suffered from Brevik's attacks, in fact, they spent more time focusing on Viljar's family than Breivik himself, going into this movie i really hoped to see Brevik's perspective more and go deeper into his background/mind instead of watching a boring, slow and emotional flick about a disabled boy who was shot 5 times, i understand it might sound harsh, but that is the truth, there are tons of emotional movies about victims out there, an opportunity of delving deep into a mind of a mass murderer was truly missed by the directors here showing just a fraction of who Breivik really is.
The scenery and vibe in this movie are amazing, although this largely plays into the movie feeling drawn-out and quite boring at times. I honestly think there was great potential here, which simply got derailed by emotions of the directors.
Overall, ''22 July'' is a fairly average flick, that gets far too emotional, skipping important details and painting broad strokes when it comes to the actual events, quite boring and definitely a bit of a let down!