22 July Review

22 July Poster
When you live in America, you’re mostly aware of all of the terrorist attack done on Americans. However, attacks in other countries are not as widely known. One of those attacks is the Norwegian attack on the July 22nd, 2011. On this infamous day, Norway saw the worst terrorist attack in its country’s history. Sadly, seventy people died at the hands of a madman. But is 22 July a proper and effective film that documents the lives of those affected by that infamous day?

Yes, it is but it’s not an easy watch. The film is a gripping an inspirational character drama that’s not without its issues.

22 July is a three-part story that follows several people during and after the worst terrorist attack in Norway’s history.

22 July

22 July is an incredibly hard film to watch. Not because the film isn’t very good but the subject matter is just so difficult to watch. Paul Greengrass doesn’t let up when it comes to Breivik’s terrorist actions—especially when it comes to shootings on Utoya. He doesn’t outright show the children getting murdered (thankfully) but he doesn’t make it so it’s still impactful when you watch it.

However, 22 July isn’t just a historical drama. The film is primarily a character drama that takes an intimate look at everyone involved in Breivik’s trial. The film builds upon the effects of the tragic events by giving each character an arc that all come together in the end. In addition, the film does a great job developing the characters. Every single character has so much depth to them that you just know their thoughts. At the same time, you can see the human spirit thriving and surviving through the survivors.

In addition, the characters themselves are all interesting to watch. Though Geir Lippestad might be the most interesting character in the film. Seeing him represent the reprehensible Breivik to the fullest extent is intriguing to watch—especially since he completely disagrees with Breivik’s actions. However, it’s his job as a lawyer to represent him because it’s his job. As a result, you both hate and respect him at the same time.

Yet developing these characters takes up a lot of screen time. Because there are a handful of characters that the film focuses on, the film takes its time developing these characters. As a result, the film is really long at two hours and twenty-three minutes long.

But not only does the film take its time developing characters but it also thoroughly documents the events after the attack. So no matter how minor the moment is, the film covers it. Unfortunately, the film introduces some storylines that never really go anywhere. As a result, the film tends to drag a lot. Not to mention, there are some storylines that are more interesting than others. Since the film moves from one storyline to the other a lot, you’ll find yourself bored at points.

22 July

Nevertheless, the performance of the cast is absolutely phenomenal. Anders Danielsen Lie is just so nasty as Anders Behring Breivik. He’s a man who is just so easy to hate. Essentially every single thing that comes out of his mouth is so putrid that you wish swift justice upon the character. Much of that is because of Danielsen Lie. He’s just so good at being bad.

Jonas Strand Gravli provides an extraordinary performance as Viljar. He is the easily the heart and soul of the film. Not only does he give such a physical performance but he gives an emotional one too. It’s the kind of performance that’ll inspire and lift your spirits too.

Although Danielsen Lie and Gravli give performances on both sides of the moral spectrum, Jon Øigarden stands in the middle as Geir Lippestad. There’s a duality to his performance that’s intriguing to watch. As I said before, you hate him and respect him at the same time.

Overall, 22 July is a gripping character and historical drama. The subject matter is definitely a tough watch but it’s a necessary evil to showcase the durability of the human spirit. Not to mention, the film tells us the inspirational message that no matter how dire it is, evil will never triumph over good. This is something that we need a reminder of in this day and age.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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