A teenage girl struggles to survive and to find her younger sister during the July 2011 terrorist mass murder at a political summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya.A teenage girl struggles to survive and to find her younger sister during the July 2011 terrorist mass murder at a political summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya.A teenage girl struggles to survive and to find her younger sister during the July 2011 terrorist mass murder at a political summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya.
But I do think this is a good film. I think its made with dignity and respect, and I think its importance come across very well. It's a film that we need in order for us to, if not fully, at least be able to understand a little bit about how it was like for the people who were trapped on Utøya during the shooting. How brutal, unforgiving, isolated and meaningless it all was. The film doesn't shy away from the brutality of it, and I'm glad that it didn't. It had to be brutal in order to convey the feeling of how it was like. It had to be violent in order for us to understand it. The film does a good job of translating the feeling to the viewers.
Shot entirely in one-take on the island itself with unknown actors and lasting exactly as long as the shooting actually did, the film feels as real as it possibly could have. There's not much focus on the perpetrator, yet his presence is felt throughout the entirety of the film. The loud and uncomfortable sound of shots being fired is constant and the shrieking of scared teens is uncomfortably present. The panic, confusion and anxiety is all over the place. There are no moments to rest, and the film is exhaustingly intense and difficult to watch. Once the film ended the cinema was filled with silence. No one made any noise and it was quite simply put a powerful experience.
There are certain moments in it that feels slightly artificial, though it's hard for me to know that for sure, as I wasn't there during the attack. Yet, some parts didn't fully convince me. This might be because some of the acting isn't the strongest. Which is a bit of the risque you run when shooting a film in one-take. Andrea Berntzen is however a star. Her performance is outstanding. The camera follows her throughout the entire film, and she perfectly manages to capture and convey every emotion you would imagine someone going through in a situation like that.
This is not a film for everyone, but for me, as a Norwegian, it's essential viewing due to how close it is. In a world where violence happens every day and we've somehow gotten used to reading about, a film like this is important. If only to make us understand a little bit more. If only to make us feel a lot more.
( Review also posted on Listal and letterboxd)
- Mar 10, 2018