Director Paul Greengrass takes a turn into the dramatic retelling of historic events in this week’s 22 July, available now on Netflix. The movie focuses on the events leading up to, during and following a terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway.
Specifically it covers what happens after one of the perpetrators of the attack makes his way to a youth camp on a nearby island and continues his killing spree. The story is broken up into three parts to see how three different groups and individuals are impacted by and react to those attacks.
The main one-sheet for the movie shows a photo of the youth camp from across the water. Greengrass’s name and credentials are shown while the copy sells the movie as telling “The true story of a day that started like any other.” It’s simple, but effective.
The first trailer, released at the same time the movie was screening at Venice, opens by establishing the story’s setting at the summer camp. It’s not long before we see the violence that rocks Oslo and which then spills over into the camp as the terrorists journey there. The second half of the trailer is all about the aftermath of that violence, as Sveinn tries to come to terms with what happened and build up his emotional and physical strength before the trial of the perpetrator.
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Or here, at least as far as I’ve seen.
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The movie was announced as one of those screening at the Venice Film Festival. It was also among those receiving the rare theatrical release from Netflix, something that had to be coordinated carefully to reach a sizable audience while also not offending theater chain operators.
Greengrass was interviewed about why he chose to tell this story as well as how he shot some of the more logistically difficult sequences and recreated the time period and setting the movie takes place in.
This is a tough sell for a U.S. audience, telling the story of an incident that most Americans likely don’t remember hearing about in the first place and which has no personal connection to them. Not only that, but it’s essentially in a foreign language with an entirely unknown cast. Still, it’s a powerful story being told here and Greengrass is one of the most reliable filmmakers around, so there is some appeal here.