Film review: ‘22 July’ is a horrific tragedy in which children become political pawns

69 boys and girls were killed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik on July 22, 2011. (Image supplied)
Updated 09 October 2018
0

Film review: ‘22 July’ is a horrific tragedy in which children become political pawns

  • With the current political thinking on immigration, Breivik’s hate philosophy may appear less shocking than in 2011

CHENNAI: It is never easy to depict a tragedy, especially when children are killed, but when British director Paul Greengrass, the man behind titles such as “Bloody Sunday,” “United 93” and “Captain Phillips,” takes up a subject such as the Norwegian neo-Nazi terrorist attack on a summer youth camp, it can be engaging without appearing overdone.

“22 July,” which premiered at the Venice film festival in September as a Netflix original and will be streamed on Oct. 10, gives not only a bird’s-eye view of the shootout on Utoya island on July 22, 2011, but also a moving personal account of the 69 boys and girls who died horrifically when terrorist Anders Behring Breivik entered the camp and began spraying bullets. It could not have been easy for Greengrass to tell the story in a country where the wounds of that bloody day have not quite healed.

So it is good that the movie allocates only a brief time out of its 143 minutes for the massacre, with the rest given to the lives of the killer, Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie), as he stands trial, and a survivor, 17-year-old Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli). The teenager (a real-life character) survives the carnage with one eye gone and bullet fragments lodged in his brain that can kill him at any time.

Greengrass recreates the atmosphere of deadly tension as the killer in a policeman’s uniform walks toward the children after shooting dead a couple of the camp’s volunteers. Later, as the court proceedings go on, the film cuts to Hanssen’s enormous suffering and painful recuperation.

The courtroom drama is intriguing, with Breivik seeking the services of a liberal lawyer, Geir Lippestad (Jon Jigarden), who is mystified at this request. Even more puzzling is Breivik’s on-and-off plea of insanity. But the fact that his agenda was to keep immigrants out of Norway is painfully clear. However, with the current political thinking on immigration, Breivik’s hate philosophy may appear less shocking than in 2011.


What We Are Reading Today: Revolutionizing the Sciences by Peter Dear

Updated 16 February 2019
0

What We Are Reading Today: Revolutionizing the Sciences by Peter Dear

  • The book reflects on the origins of scientific practice in early modern Europe

This thoroughly revised third edition of an award-winning book offers a keen insight into how the scientific revolution happened and why. Covering central scientific figures, including Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Bacon, this new edition features greater treatment of alchemy and associated craft activities to reflect trends in current scholarship.

The book reflects on the origins of scientific practice in early modern Europe. Peter Dear traces the revolution in thought that changed the natural world from something to be contemplated into something to be used, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Concise and readable, this book is ideal for students who are studying the scientific revolution and its impact on the early modern world. The first edition was the winner of the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize of the History of Science Society.