One of the things we pride ourselves on when it comes to our show is that we do our best to avoid politics and religion, but as it pertains to “22 July,” we are going to be dealing with the subject of mass shootings and terrorism. If you are over twenty, the Columbine shooting, Sandy Hook, the Aurora night club in Florida, and others have made these things a part of our lives, and this film deals with the worst one of these in Norway’s history.
Directed by Paul Greengrass, the title is the date in 2011 where this event happened, where a car bomb was set off at the Parliament building in Oslo followed by a mass shooting of a summer camp a couple of hours later by Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie). This film takes a look at the events from the day before the attacks through his trial and sentencing not only from his story but also through the family of victims Viljar (Jonas Strand Gravli) and Torje (Isak Bakli Aglen) and even the Prime Minister in Jens Stoltenberg (Ola G. Furuseth).
This film is shot on location and shows Finland very well. The supporting cast is very larger here, but the focus is on Lie and Gravli. Both of these actors do incredible jobs there, with Lie as the evil terrorist who has no remorse for his actions and Gravli as the teen experiencing tragedy and the emotional rollercoaster that follows. I would not be shocked to see either or both of these actors nominated during awards season for their performances here.
From a pacing standpoint, “22 July” starts out very fast but slows down as the film goes on, and at almost two and a half hours, that is not necessarily a good thing. The meat of the story happens in the first forty minutes with the rest of it mainly being the investigation, trial, healing, and after effects of it. I could see the point here being that something that happens in an instant affecting everything else for the rest of a person’s life, but I am not sure that is what the filmmakers were going for. This film features some pretty graphic violence in order to show the audience truly what the victims went through, so be prepared for that as I recommend “22 July” as the border between a twilight and full price ticket in theaters (if it plays near you, as this will also be on Netflix by the time this is published).