TIFF18: 22 July

The story of Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack is told in 22 July. On July 22, 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) detonated a car bomb in the government district of Oslo, before opening fire at leadership camp on Utøya Island. In the aftermath of the attack, Breivik is arrested and personally requests lawyer Geir Lippestad (Jon Øigarden) to defend him at the trial. Meanwhile, shooting survivor Viljar (Jonas Strand Gravli) struggles with his rehabilitation and nightmares about that horrific day.

Director Paul Greengrass (United 93Captain Phillips) recreates the 2011 Norway attacks with gripping realism in 22 July. The film begins by showing the terrorist attack in an extended and very tense sequence, before moving on to show how the attack affected those involved. The plot primarily follows teenager Viljar, who barely survives being shot multiple times, and lawyer Geir Lippestad, who has to defend Anders Behring Breivik, despite being personally repulsed by his actions.

22 July starts off with probably one of the most tense sequences that I have seen all year, masterfully shot in Paul Greengrass’ signature handheld style. The film then levels off to become more a drama than a thriller, though the plot is still quite compelling and timely, with Anders Behring Breivik motives being his anti-immigration views. Anders Danielsen Lie portrays 
Breivik a charismatic man, who is completely despicable. On the flipside, Jonas Strand Gravli brings a lot of emotion to his role as Viljar, particularly towards the end when he is called in to testify against Breivik. Altogether, 22 July is a masterful depiction of a horrible event.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).