I didn't want to review Paul Greengrass’s "22 July" last week, mostly because it portrayed the white nationalist extremist who shot and killed 77 people at a Labor Youth camp in Oslo, as a rational person. Not just that, but Greengrass lays down the terrorist's agenda quite elaborately, having him explain exactly why he committed the insidious act. Briefly, the attacks were carried out to call attention to the wave of to Islamic immigration in Europe and to his view that feminism has created a European “cultural suicide”, whatever that means. The fact that Greengrass's camera has no problem letting the guy explain his extreme right-wing agenda in a measured and somewhat neutral fashion, handheld camera in tow, irked me.
The crux of the film is about the slow recovery of one of the victims of the attack, who was shot twice, lost an eye and gradually learned to walk again. Greengrass focuses on the emotional and physical trauma of the young teenager for most of the film. The director's well-known frenetic camerawork is back as well, especially when the film focuses on the attacks in the first few minutes of the film, but after that, it's mostly about recovery and humanizing the shooter, the latter of which is exactly what he wanted.
The fact that a movie has him as a central lead is just icing on the cake. Whether it'd be a school shooter or a jihadist terrorist or a right-wing extremist, they all want the same thing: notoriety. Greengrass gives it to to him here. That's why I won't mention his name in this write-up, nor will I fully explain his reasonings behind the attack -- he doesn't deserve it, let alone have a whole movie based on his identity and agenda. Greengrass does that here and this being a Netflix movie, the shooter's abhorrent message will be heard loud and clear in over 100+ countries. [C]