On July 22, 2011, less than two hours after detonating a deadly car-bomb, and having already killed eight people in Oslo, the remorseless Norwegian far-right terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, boarded the ferry MS Thorbjørn in Lake Tyri. As the shocking news of the devastating Oslo explosion was starting to reach the ears of the unsuspecting teenagers of the Workers' Youth League summer camp on the remote island of Utøya, the loud, sharp, and blood-curdling sound of Anders' first gunshots could only mean one thing: death. Now, for the next long and nightmarish seventy minutes, eighteen-year-old Kaja, her younger sister, Emilie, and approximately six-hundred young participants will find themselves drawn into a violent maelstrom of destruction, as Breivik, with cold-blooded precision, injures hundreds, and kills sixty-nine boys and girls. Will the world ever forget July 22, 2011, and the atrocious Utøya massacre?Written by
I was afraid to see this movie. But it's one of those cases where I felt I HAD to. I was inevitably drawn to it. I thought there was a risk of it being a little exploitative. But I looked at the cast list, and an actor cast as Breivik was nowhere to be found.
And as soon as you watch the movie, it makes perfect sense. Many of the campers didn't have a chance of seeing who the shooter was, and if they did they were most likely doomed. It makes the situation extremely scary, as there is no visible presentation of the threat. Just shots firing from a gun, with one person after the other getting hit...
I'm sorry, I'm getting too emotional. But it's really hard not to. I felt all the fear, all the dirt and sand and the uncertainty over whether someone was going to make it out alive or not. The fact that it's impossible to know the fate of any of the victims beforehand is particularly horrifying. There are no easy hiding places, not a spot where you can feel completely safe and sound.
It feels weird to point out the acting in a way, since never at any point in the movie did I notice I was watching people acting. But I still have to give props to the especially brilliant performance of Andrea Berntzen as Kaja. Even though her mission to find her sister is extremely dangerous, you understand it from her angle why she would do it. You can sense every heartbeat and emotion that she goes through as she finds herself witnessing things that once you've seen it, it's stuck in your mind forever.
I was bawling my eyes red at the end of it. It's unbelievable that such a tragedy struck a country like Norway, at a nice and homely island, the place where you would least expect something like this to ever occur.
Yes, it's "just" a movie. But this is the closest you will possibly come to experiencing a tragedy at an isolated resort. As horrible as watching it play out in great detail was, be as grateful as you can it never happened to you. And to all the brave people who survived, stay strong and live your lives as happily as you can.
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