22 July movie poster
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22 July
22 July movie poster

22 July Movie Review

If you’re looking for an uplifting experience full of cheer and gumdrops, look no further than 22 July, the Paul Greengrass drama that depicts the horrifying terrorist attack that occurred at a Norwegian summer camp in 2011, resulting in the deaths of 77 people.

Greengrass, best known for The Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum but also for the superb reenactment of the fateful 9/11 plane crash United 93, delivers another unflinching and methodical production, pulling few punches as the emotionless killer hunts and guns down legions of young people.

The film’s first hour, which focuses on the attack and the immediate aftermath, is intense in all the ways you’d expect from Greengrass.

The rest is… okay.

22 July, at nearly two and a half hours long, is unnecessarily long, with the most interesting stuff at the beginning. The rest is a slow decline toward its inevitable conclusion, with Greengrass attempting to explore the emotional trauma of one of the survivors (Jonas Strand Gravli) and scratch into the mind of the mentally deranged white supremacist as he awaits his trial. Greengrass isn’t nearly as effective in either capacity, unfortunately. He is unable to dig far enough beneath the skin of the diametrically opposed subjects, the result a never bland but rarely riveting portrayal of PTSD and a man whose message we hear way too often these days.

22 July is a decent drama, but when the best part of the movie is a reenactment of real young people getting butchered, that’s a problem.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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