22 July retells the tragic events of the 2011 terrorist attack in Norway in a stirring, uncompromising and, at times, excruciatingly hard to watch fashion.
Overseen with the meticulous detail and kinetic and visceral style that we have become accustom to from Academy Award nominated director Paul Greengrass, there is one glaring alteration from the tragic events that unfolded in Oslo on that day and the film.
Rather than Norwegian, "22 July’s" characters all speak English. I recently had the chance to speak to Anders Danielsen Lie, who portrays Anders Breivik, the terrorist that killed a total of 77 people on that day, 8 with an explosion in government square in Oslo before he then shot dead 68 on Utoya Island, during which time I asked Lie why the film is in English and not Norwegian.
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“I think making an English language version was nonnegotiable,” explained Lie.
“The idea was to reach a broad, wide audience with this film. Paul Greengrass’s mission was to see the 22nd July as a local story with a global message.”
“He was a lone wolf terrorist but he operated within an ideological context. There are many people in the world who share his ideas. They are more widespread and mainstream now than when it happened.”
“The idea of being strongly opposed to globalism and multiculturalism. Therefore it made sense to look at this terrorist attack, which is one of the most political terrorist attacks in recent memory, to see it as a cautionary tale.”
Lie believes that, although they're invariably difficult to see, recreating these harrowing true stories for a movie is an integral step in helping the world to learn and recover from them.
“Telling the story again and again in different ways, I see that as the way of coping with trauma. Even though it might be uncomfortable to be reminded of these atrocities. I don’t think we have a choice.”
"We have to tell the stories again and again. When we make a film about this we have a responsibility as artists and actors and filmmakers to try and ask some questions and try to understand a little bit more. It is very important that we never forget these events."
“22 July” is now available on Netflix.