Film (2018) directed by Paul Greengrass, reviewed by Robert Henderson
Having adopted the disguise of a policeman, on 22 July 2011 Anders Breivik exploded a bomb near a government building in the Norwegian capital Oslo, killing eight people. He then went to the nearby island of Utøya where a Workers’ Youth League (AUF) summer camp was being held. There he shot and killed 77 people and wounded around two hundred more. Most of the victims were young. Breivik’s justification for the attack was that Norway was being betrayed by an elite who were allowing large numbers of immigrants, especially Muslim immigrants, to radically change the nature of Norwegian society.
His killing rampage is the starting point of the film. Breivik is shown as a merciless but efficient killer, as he must have been, considering the number of dead and wounded. After the killings, the film follows two plot lines: that of Breivik and that of the Hansen family. We meet Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli) early in the film when he and his brother Torje Hanssen (Isak Bakli Aglen) are at the summer camp. Viljar is selected to address the Workers’ Youth League campers. He trots out the routine internationalist line about the wonders of diversity and how everyone from anywhere should be welcomed. Shortly after this, Breivik begins shooting. Viljar and his brother Torje escape death but Viljar suffers serious wounds including one to the head. A substantial subsequent part of the film is devoted to Viljar’s long and painful recuperation. His part in the story culminates with Breivik refusing to look at him as he makes a victim statement to the court. Continue reading