This film is about the neo-Nazi attack in Norway that killed nearly 100 people and wounded twice that many. Most of the victims were students. The movie actually has quite a bit of depth to it and as a result, is a better film than you might expect.
Directed by Paul Greengrass, the film does more than just tell the story of this deadly terrorist attack. (In Europe, they have no trouble calling neo-Nazi attacks acts of terrorism. That reluctance is left to the Americans.) The movie starts with the attack but then focuses on survivors and the trial of the terrorist.
As an American, there was a lot to learn from this film. For instance, apparently, in Norway a lawyer has to represent someone if they are requested. This terrorist picked a lawyer whose career he’d basically been stalking online for years. It wrecked havoc on the lawyer and his family.
The struggles of survivors is beautifully told through the eyes of one who ended up testifying against the terrorist. Shot five times, and still carrying shrapnel, the teen had to learn to do everything all over again, as well as deal with losses of friends and PTSD.
There isn’t much unexpectedto say about the terrorist and his motives. As you might expect, he thought he was playing a bigger role in world affairs than he was. Thought he was saving the nation’s European identity when all he was doing was bringing about pain. But it is clear from his statements, and that of of another leading neo-Nazi at the trial, that violence is what they adhere to in bringing about their dream world.
It is a powerful moment - surprisingly so - at the end of the movie when the terrorist, having been sentenced to life in solitary confinement, is led to his cell. As the doors close, for the first time it sinks in that this room is all he will ever see of the world for the rest of his life. Like his beliefs, there is no room for him amongst other people.
Seeing this before election day, when neo-Nazism is very much on the ballot here in the States, was a stark reminder of what is at stake tomorrow. The violence that follows Nazis is all about us and voting is a step in putting it in check. This film rates a 5 of 5 on my scale. It can be found on Netflix who produced it.