22 july featurette

Paul Greengrass‘ emotionally harrowing 22 July hit Netflix this week, and while it might be a hard film to watch, it might be an important one as well. The movie chronicles Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack, when 77 people were killed when a far-right extremist detonated a car bomb before carrying out a mass shooting. In the 22 July featurette below, Greengrass and the cast and crew discuss the importance of telling this very charged story.

22 July Featurette

On July 22, 2011, a far-right extremist killed 77 in a bombing and mass shooting, leading to the deadliest terror attack in Norway’s history. In 22 July, Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, the Bourne movies) “uses the lens of a survivor’s physical and emotional journey to portray the country’s path to healing and reconciliation.”

Even though the film is set in 2011, the themes of 22 July unfortunately still resonate today, and that’s what inspired Greengrass to tell this story. In the 22 July featurette above, the filmmaker calls the film “a story that speaks to all of us, because what we’ve been seeing over the last 10 years is the vigorous growth of the far-right.” Greengrass adds: “It’s the inspiring story, the universal story of how Norway responded.”

Ola G. Furuseth, who plays the Prime Minister of Norway in the movie, says here: “This is a story we have to tell, even though it hurts. We have to try to find out why this happened.”

The message Greengrass is trying to impart with the film is part of the reason he decided to use Netflix as a distributor. “I very much want this film to reach a young audience,” the director said in a Q&A about the film. “It is their generation who will have to repel tomorrow the advances of the extreme right today. And so when we were considering distribution partners, the Netflix model of theatrical distribution and streaming platform offered the best chance of reaching that broad young audience with material as challenging as this.”

22 July will probably be a difficult watch for some audiences, but those who can stomach its heart-wrenching events might find some sign of hope rising out of all the violence. In his /Film review of the movie, Marshall Shaffer wrote:

22 July, the latest Greengrass project, moves away from an American-centered focus to examine a recent incident of far-right extremism in Norway. But if anyone believes the change of setting exculpates them from listening and heeding the warning, think again. Greengrass offers a thoughtful, terrifying portrait of how white nationalist hatred seeks to subvert the values of liberalism to validate its own existence…The contrast between the horror and the hopefulness of highly routinized individuals sets up the rest of the film quite nicely. Thankfully, Greengrass does not build sadistically towards the massacre and exploit its impending arrival as a form of dramatic irony. The titular events of 22 July conclude in the first act, leaving a whole lot of movie left to grapple with the fallout.

22 July is now streaming on Netflix.

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