Utoya: July 22
Cert: Club; Selected cinemas
A fly-on-the-wall approach is taken with this real-time cinematic depiction of the harrowing events of July 2011. That was the day Anders Breivik detonated a bomb in Oslo before embarking on a killing spree on the island of Utoya that left 69 people, mostly teenagers of the Workers’ Youth League, dead.
Over a single 72-minute take, director Erik Poppe sits on the shoulder of Kaja (Andrea Berntzen), who is making friends and bickering with her sister at the campsite when we meet her. The moment inevitably comes when the first shots ring out through the trees and a quickening tension forks through the screenplay. A real sense of chaos and confusion follows as theories are bandied about — there are many shooters, it’s only a drill, etc — and no one is sure which direction to flee. Poppe keeps Breivik off screen for the most part, instead concentrating on Kaja and those she encounters during her scramble for survival. While visceral in its depiction of the horror that day, it is let down by trite dialogue and one frankly cringeworthy scene.