JULY 22 – Review by Susan Granger

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As an all-too-relevant example of warped extremism bred out of fear, Paul Greengrass’ harrowing tale recalls the aftermath of Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack. On July 22, 2011, 77 people were killed when a far-right, anti-Muslim zealot detonated a car bomb in central Oslo’s government district before embarking on a mass shooting at summer-leadership youth camp hosted by the Labor Party on nearby Utoya Island.

Disguised as a policeman, Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) first lured the staff toward him, then opened fire. Since the island covers only 26 acres, Brevik relentlessly stalked the rest of the terrified teenagers through the woods, shooting everyone he saw, shouting, “You are going to die today, Marxists.”

After executing the massacre, self-satisfied Brevik surrenders without resistance, demanding that his defense attorney, Geir Lippestad (Jon Oigarden), allow him to testify at his trial in order to express his disdain for immigrants and end the government’s “enforced multi-culturalism.”

Best known for his three Jason Bourne movies (“The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Jason Bourne”), along with thrillers crafted after real-life events (“United 93,” “Captain Phillips”), British director Paul Greengrass’s body of work is exemplified by tension and a sense of urgency.

That’s what introduces the secondary character of Vijar (Jonas Strang Gravli), a teenager from Svalbard, an international community in the remote Arctic Archipelago where the Global Seed Vault is located.

Encouraged by his parents (Maria Bock, Thorbjorn Harr), younger brother (Isak Bakli Aglen) and friend Lara (Seda Witt), idealistic Vijar miraculously survives the deadly carnage despite multiple gunshot wounds, including one that leaves fragments embedded perilously near his brain stem. But can Vijar recover in time to confront the cold-blooded killer?

Working from a screenplay based on “One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway” (2013) by journalist Asne Seierstad, Greengrass crafts a hard-hitting drama, a political warning.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “22 July” is a suspenseful 7, available on Netflix and at a few select theaters.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.