Utoya: July 22

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA - HI­LARY A WHITE

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.

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