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

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.


Where We Are Going Today: Jeddah’s Dopamine Cafe

Updated 24 January 2020

Where We Are Going Today: Jeddah’s Dopamine Cafe

Complementing coffee with books and games, the perfect place to spend hours without being bored is Dopamine Cafe in Jeddah.

What sets this place apart from others in Jeddah is the range of activities that people can enjoy while having a cup or two of coffee.

The walls are lined with books for those seeking a moment of calm or are on their own, while groups of friends are guaranteed hours of entertainment thanks to the collections of games at the tables. Warm lights and soft music enhance the cozy and relaxing concept the cafe is going for.

It serves custom-crafted beverages, baked goods, breakfast options and more. The hazelnut cake is one of the best cakes I have had for a while — a chocolate sponge topped with espresso buttercream frosting and hazelnut chunks.

The cafe is calming and a great way to detox from the loud city and its busy lifestyle. It is located on Prince Sultan Road in Al-Rawdah district.