Why Netflix’s 22 July is a powerful but important watch
From the man behind the Bourne movies
22 July is not an easy watch.
The new Netflix film recounts the events of July 22nd, 2011. On that day, Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik murdered 77 people in two separate attacks.
Breivik first set off a car bomb in the Norwegian capital of Olso, killing eight people.
He then travelled to the island of Utøya, which was home to a summer camp organised by the AUF, the youth division of the Norwegian Labour Party. Dressed in a fake police uniform, Breivik opened fire and killed another 69 people, many of them teenagers.
It was the worst attack in Norway since World War II.
The film is directed by British filmmaker Paul Greengrass. He is best known for making all of the Jason Bourne movies apart from the first one, and bringing his gritty, realistic approach to the action scenes.
Greengrass began his career however as a journalist, making films for ITV’s World In Action. Away from Bourne, he has specialised in powerful, documentary-like recreation of violent real world events.
Before heading to Hollywood, he made acclaimed films like The Murder of Steven Lawrence, Omagh, and Bloody Sunday for British television.
He has since made United 23, about the fourth plane on 9/11 which crashed Pennsylvania, and Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, about the hijacking Maersk Alabama cargo ship by modern day pirates.
He also reteamed with Matt Damon for Green Zone, set in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
22 July is made in that same docudrama style, and Greengrass’ simple, clear filmmaking creates an impossibly powerful viewing experience.
The Guardian gave the film five stars, calling it “brave and careful” and the “perfect film” for our difficult times.
After premiering at the Venice film festival, 22 July is on Netflix now.