22 July (film)

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22 July
22 July (film).jpg
Film release poster
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Produced by
Screenplay by Paul Greengrass
Based on One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath
by Åsne Seierstad
Music by Sune Martin
Cinematography Pål Ulvik Rokseth
Edited by William Goldenberg
Distributed by Netflix
Release date
  • September 5, 2018 (2018-09-05) (Venice)
  • October 10, 2018 (2018-10-10) (United States)
Running time
143 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[2]
Box office $142,255[3]

22 July is a 2018 American drama film about the 2011 Norway attacks and the aftermath of it, based on the book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad. The film was written, directed and produced by Paul Greengrass and features a Norwegian cast and crew. The film had its world premiere on September 5, 2018 in the main competition section of the 75th Venice International Film Festival.[4][5] It was released online and in select theaters on October 10, 2018, by Netflix.


Anders Behring Breivik is at his mother's apartment finishing his manifesto on a computer; simultaneously the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg of the Labour Party, is going over the details of a planned upcoming meeting with the children of the Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp; and the children (all teenagers) have arrived on camp on the island of Utøya in Tyrifjorden, Buskerud. The camp was organized by the AUF, the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party.

Breivik dresses up in a police uniform, loads up a white van with home-made explosives and drives to the first attack in Oslo within Regjeringskvartalet, the Executive Government Quarter of Norway. The van is illegally parked in front of the building housing the office of Prime Minister Stoltenberg. A security guard watching on CCTV sees Breivik in his police uniform parking and leaving the van, the suspicious guard calls in the license plate to find out if the van belongs to law enforcement; when he is told that the van isn't one of theirs, the guard goes outside to inspect the van — a second after he appears by the van, it explodes, blasting him away in flames and debris, and causing a ripple effect on the building and surrounding area.

At the island, the children are gathered in a room for an ice-breaker game called: If I was Prime Minister. One of the students, Viljar Hanssen, comes from a small town. He gets up in front of the room and says that if he was the Prime Minister he would make sure that everyone is given equality; he explains that in his hometown everyone works side-by-side regardless of nationality.

Breivik is in another car driving towards the island, he hears about the explosion on the car radio. When he arrives at the end point to get to the island, he tells the two personnel there that he was sent to secure the island because of the bombing in Oslo. They find him credible because of the situation and radios the director of the camp, who comes to transport him to the island on a boat.

On the island, the head of security becomes suspicious after having friendly chatter with him, and asks to see his ID. Breivik then shoots him and the director on the spot with a handgun, and takes out his assault rifle. The children hears the shots, and then start fleeing and screaming as Breivik starts firing at them.

Groups of children are scattered around the island, but they are virtually trapped because the only way off the island is on boat. Breivik goes into one of the classrooms where some of the children are hiding. On the walls are posters that express open borders, tolerance and unity. Breivik taunts the children saying that today they will die for being liberal, socialist elitists. He kills everyone in the room. Other children are scattered about the island trying to survive, including a group that decides to go down a rocky embankment on to the beach. Viljar is able to get a cell signal and calls his mother to tell him that there's a shooting on the island.

Chaos forms as first responders are trying to contain the bombing situation in Oslo, and word finally gets out about the second attack on the island. Breivik finds the group on the embankment and starts shooting, Viljar is shot and tells his younger brother Torje to leave him and keep going. He is shot multiple times, with one of the shots hitting his head. A tactical team is finally sent to the island where they encounter Breivik, who surrenders without incident. He is taken prisoner and brought back inland for interrogation.

It soon becomes clear that this was not an Islamist terrorist attack, but a far-right white nationalist terrorist attack. During his initial interrogation, Breivik claims there will be a third attack on his signal, and that there are others in his organization, but the agents quickly realizes that he is a "lone wolf".

In the aftermath of the attacks, the Prime Minister gives a quick speech to the Norwegian people and has an investigation opened in to the attacks. 77 people were killed, with hundreds injured. The Prime Minister is upset that Breivik was able to go undetected by the government when he was able to order so many things online to make the bomb; being told that the Norwegian government were just actively monitoring Muslims and not others, like white supremacists.

Breivik requests the legal aid of a lawyer named Geir Lippestad, who has no idea who Breivik is, other than he's the man who committed the attacks. When asked why Breivik chose him, Breivik says that he remembers Lippestad when he defended a Nazi. Lippestad is morally conscientious of his client as well as being professionally bonded by his ethics as a lawyer.

Lippestad tries to argue an insanity defense for Breivik, which angers a lot of people because he will be institutionalized instead of imprisoned, but then Breivik tells Lippestad he wants to be declared competent to legitimize his attacks to further his white nationalist beliefs.

In three intersecting plotlines are Lippestad trying to reconcile with having to defend someone like Breivik and the disruptions to his family because of it; Viljar, who miraculously recovers from his shots, suffers from PTSD and had to go through multiple surgeries and rigorous physical therapy, while he and his family tries to move on with their lives; and Breivik's trial.



The film was released on October 10, 2018 on Netflix and in select theatres.[7] It was originally scheduled to be released on November 2, 2018, under the title Norway.[8]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78% based on 88 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "22 July offers a hard-hitting close-up look at the aftereffects of terrorism, telling a story with a thriller's visceral impact and the lingering emotional resonance of a drama."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 69 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "22 July". Venice International Film Festival. 2018-07-24. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  2. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (August 21, 2017). "Netflix Lands Paul Greengrass Pic About Norwegian Terrorist Who Killed 77". Deadline. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  3. ^ "22 July (Utøya 22. juli) (2018)". The Numbers. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  4. ^ "Venice to Kick Off Awards Season With New Films From Coen Brothers, Luca Guadagnino and Alfonso Cuaron". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  5. ^ "Venice Film Festival Lineup: Heavy on Award Hopefuls, Netflix and Star Power". Variety. 2018-07-25. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Cast of Netflix 22 July Film by Paul Greengrass Announced". The Nordic Page. October 31, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "25 Awards Contenders to See This Season, From 'Roma' to 'The Favourite' to 'First Man' and More". IndieWire. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  8. ^ Parfitt, Orlando (January 22, 2018). "15 Netflix Original movies to look out for in 2018". Screen International. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  9. ^ "22 July (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  10. ^ "22 July reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 17, 2018.

External links[edit]