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22 July Movie Review

Friday, Bloody Friday
America had 9/11. Norway had 7/22. On July 22, 2011, a lone Norwegian murdered 77 people and wounded hundreds more in Norway, in two separate attacks. Most of the casualties were teenagers.

The first attack was a car bomb left outside of a government building in Oslo. The explosion killed eight people and injured at least 209, twelve of them seriously. The attacker then drove two hours to the island of Utoya where he opened fire on a summer camp, killing 68 of the campers and injuring at least 110 people, 55 of them seriously.

"22 July" is a docudrama of the events in Norway, and having a director like Paul Greengrass (United 93 and Captain Phillips), who is adept at suspense and terror at the helm is an excellent choice. While the film can be a little bit manipulative, especially when centered on one of the teenagers, the action parts are near-perfect, even if the violence might be too graphic for some.

Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) is the man bent on killing as many people as he can. He's a crazed right-winger who wants to start a war in Norway and all over Europe to keep the continent pure in a 1930's kind of way. Though he's a lone wolf, it's his belief that he is just the tip of the movement and he's not wrong.

Breivik assembles all of his weapons on a farm before driving into Oslo. He parks the van and lights a fuse. Then it's off into another vehicle where he hears the news of the explosion he just set. Breivik drives straight to a ferry where he informs people that he has been sent to protect the people in the area. He's dressed as a cop, so he is believed.

As soon as he lands on the island he pulls out weapons and begins executing everyone he sees. Most of them are teenagers. He is totally dispassionate as he mows down the kids who are running through the woods. Eventually the real police arrive and capture him and the rest of "22 July" is about the impact on the teens and the ensuing trial.

Viljar (Jonas Strand Gravli) is a leader among the teens and half of the time we watch him and his family as he struggles to heal physically and emotionally from the trauma. These scenes are the ones that are manipulative, but they are still powerful.

"22 July" is absolutely worth it provided you can handle graphic violence and terror. It's insanely powerful and scary and it points us towards a future that we are already living in. See it, but be prepared to be depressed about the direction society is headed.



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