22 July Netflix movie review: a gripping depiction of the 2011 Norway attacks

Paul Greengrass directs this retelling of the mass killings perpetrated by far-right extemist Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011

22 July, Netflix; JH


Not to be confused with subtitled Norwegian drama Utoya – July 22 (also released October 2018), 22 July is British writer/director Paul Greengrass’s English-language and Scandi-cast take on the same subject matter: the killing in 2011 by right-wing extremist Anders Breivik of 77 Norwegians in a combined car-bomb attack in Oslo and gun rampage through a youth camp on the nearby island of Utoya.

The Crown - Matt Smith, Peter Morgan, Claire Foy - Writer/Creator Peter Morgan with Matt Smith (Prince Philip) and Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth II) (Netflix, TL)

After a gripping, graphic and relatively brief depiction of the bombing and shootings, the film splinters into a three-pronged aftermath storyline of victim rehabilitation, government culpability and Breivik courtroom shenanigans.

The result is a bit of a slog at times — the Norwegian film is a simpler, real-time rendition of events on the island — but good performances and genuinely powerful moments compensate for a lengthier, more expansive experience.

Though not of the calibre as the director’s sobering 9/11 drama United 93, it’s still slickly made and worth the watch.


22 July is released on Netflix on 10 October 2018