22nd July – Netflix – Film

Paul Greengrass’ whistle stop re-enactment of the horrific events on Utoya Island in 2011 was our Saturday evening film choice and we went into it with intrigue as to the emotional impact it would have on us both.

Given the significance of the atrocities being committed by Anders Brevik (played rather coldly by Anders Danielsen Lie) the whole thing felt a little rushed with no real context or build up examining deranged political motivations that were powering his actions.

In what was an over ambitious attempt to cram as much important story points from happenings on the day of the attack, the subsequent investigation and the trial into 2 hours you don’t really get a feel for any of the characters excepting the extraordinarily brave Viljar who quite literally stared evil in the face- twice- and defeated it both times.

It’s always a difficult decision for film makers to balance the appropriate amount of air time on the protagonist in a true story like this however, Greengrass could be accused of being too dismissive of the far right as viewers don’t get a chance to seriously see how wrong the Neo Nazi agenda is; more could have been done to debunk Brevik and tear down his heinous rhetoric.

This film would have made a fantastic mini-series akin to the brilliant Unabomber (which can also be found on Netflix) moreover, perhaps bringing it out only 7 years after the attacks contributed to its limited impact. Certainly, apart from Katherine Bigalow’s epic Zero Dark Thirty I can’t think of a film or TV series that delivered at a high level when being developed so soon after world changing events.

Rating: 7/10

Viewed: January 2021

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