Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
kenmorefield

22 July (2018)

Recommended Posts

I suspect this worked better for me because I saw it at a film festival. Context matters, and the more immersive experience of being in the dark, having less distractions, etc. certainly helps. I can't imagine watching it streaming on Netflix even as I recognize that is how a majority will see it. 

I still have never watched United 93, so I approached this with some degree of ambivalence, even trepidation. I am not sure I fully understand the cultural work performed by these docunarratives and how they differ from "inspired by a true story" films. The cynic in me wonders if it is the cinematic equivalent of just gawking or whether there is something necessary or perhaps healing in setting down these events. 

The first hero of the story is a young man who is shot and goes through extensive psychological and physical rehabilitation, culminating in his testimony at Brevik's trial. The second is a lawyer who reluctantly agrees to defend the shooter, drawing threats and reactions from traumatized onlookers. 

The breadth of the story makes the points it makes seem less on the nose. There is embedded pro-immigration stance, I guess, but its presented as personal rather than political. Brevik fears Norway is losing its white, Christian identity. His victim just misses his slain friend. There is also, I think, an implied criticism of America and the way we react to such events The film's coda appears to be that terrorism is defeated if it can't make us abandon our values in the face of trauma...that what unites a culture is not its racial or religious heritage (tribal think) but the way it manifests the principles and values that the political and religious heritage represent. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was left wondering if a film like this has a redeeming value that outweighs its potential for use as inspiration by unhinged minds like Brevik or Sayoc.  The latter is clearly not Greengrass' intention, and Brevik is not at all presented in a positive light, but I still think this harmful potential is there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andrew, I confess I am slightly surprised by this question, but knowing you and your training makes me take it more seriously than I would if it came from some other quarters. 

In that spirit, could you say a little more about:

  • what its potential for use as an inspiration is?
  • whether that potential is particular or greater for this movie than any movie?
  • whether you see that potential as stemming from its subject matter alone, the way it treats its subject matter, or both?

Sorry for the bullet points...I know that can come off as interrogation/attack. I don't mean it as such. Trying to work on being more succinct in some of my posts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I need to qualify my responses here by stating this is not my area of expertise, though I've been learning as I go on hate crimes and hate groups as these last 2 years have unfolded.  

I worry that white nationalists could use Brevik's speeches about the poisoning of their nation by liberals and elites, and his fear of minority groups, to inspire their own deeds.  The rise of hate crimes in our country since the rise of Trump shows that words have consequences.

I do see that the potential for misuse is greater for 22 July than for most other mainstream films, since Greengrass chooses to show Brevik on his killing rampage.  Whether through selective editing of these portions and Brevik's speech, or through the selective attention that we humans all employ, I can see this being misused by extremists as inspiration and for ecstatic effect.  Since psychopaths verge if not cross into incapacity for positive empathy, what we find horrifying could be seen by such folks as thrilling and hilarious.

My reservations about this film were so strong that I elected not to review or even mention it.  I'm not saying everyone should do that, of course, but I made an intentional choice not to initiate any attention-giving to it.  

I wasn't offended by the tone of your question.  I took it in good faith, as I hope you'll take my response.

Edited by Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×