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22 July by Paul Greengrass is an adaptation of the non-fiction book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath, which is about the 2011 Norway attacks. It explores the buildup to the attacks, the actual attacks, the trial of Anders Behring Breivik (the perpetrator of the attacks), and follows Viljar Hanssen, a survivor of the Utøya massacre who was severely injured.


This film contains examples of:

  • Amoral Attorney: Averted. Neither the prosecution or the defense is portrayed as heinous, and defense attorney Geir Lippestad makes it clear that he's incredibly uncomfortable defending a far-right terrorist like Breivik (he's even a member of the Norwegian Labor Party, who had been the main targets). Unfortunately, some members of the public consider him this due to who his client is and what he did.
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  • Attention Whore: Breivik. After getting arrested, he lies about the possibility of there being other terrorist attacks to make sure the Prime Minister pays attention to him and his cause, he does Nazi salutes in the courtroom to aggravate everyone present, and he initially goes along with his lawyer's suggestion to employ an Insanity Defense purely because he knows it'll piss off the victim's families to know that he could avoid any prison time whatsoever.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The attacks still happen, and Breivik gets what he wants: a platform to spread his ideas. However, Breivik still ends up in prison, and most of the public manages to move on with their lives.
  • Big Brother Instinct: As Breivik is busy reloading his Mini-14 rifle, Torje attempts to try and drag his older and injured brother Viljar to safety. Viljar makes him escape so that he doesn't get shot and potentially killed.
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  • Category Traitor: When Breivik attempts to call up a far-right thinker in his defense, the man is clear that he wants nothing to do with him for being a murderous lunatic. Breivik dismisses him as a coward for this.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: A commission panel investigating the July 22nd attacks reveals that the attacks could've been stopped, or at least the destructive effects mitigated, had they beefed up the security and taken steps to monitor Breivik beforehand.
  • Courtroom Antics: Anders does Nazi salutes in the court and uses his platform to speak as an opportunity to call for further terrorist attacks and to brag about how many people he killed.
  • Dedication: Since this is a film about the 2011 Norway attacks, it is dedicated to those who died in the attacks and are still affected by it.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Averted by Breivik. When informed that his mother refuses to come up to the witness stand to testify for him, he angrily declares her to be useless to him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The far-right parties that Breivik calls upon to support him during his trial make themselves clear that although they share very similar beliefs to him, they are absolutely appalled by his actions and want nothing to do with him.
  • Harassing Phone Call: Geir receives a number of these for serving as Breivik's defense attorney.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: A very, very downplayed example. Breivik in real life never gave out Nazi salutes during his criminal trial - he only gave them during his parole hearings.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Breivik is shown dressed as a policeman until his arrest.
  • Insanity Defense: Breivik's attorney advises him to go with this, telling him it could keep him out of prison. Breivik initially goes along with the idea purely because he finds it funny since people would inevitably be upset at the prospect of him avoiding jail entirely. Breivik backtracks on this only because he realizes that, if he's declared insane, no-one would take him or his ideals seriously.
  • It's All About Me: Anders demonstrates this best after demanding medical attention for a cut on his finger — a cut, as he himself notes, that was caused by the skull fragment of a teenager he murdered.
  • Loners Are Freaks: It is noted in the film that Anders had a very isolated life, with the only other person he talked to outside of the internet being his mother. It's implied that this isolation led him to carry out the attack as a bid for people to pay attention to him.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Anders makes it clear that the motivation behind the attack was an attack on leftist political values, denigrating his victims as Marxists, and claiming that his actions were necessary to prevent further Muslim immigration to Norway.
  • The Sociopath: Breivik never shows remorse for the victims of his actions. He even calls the teenagers at the camp traitors.
  • Terrorist Without A Cause: While he proclaims himself to despise Marxists and that it was a "righteous" execution, it is heavily implied that Breivik's actions are motivated more by a desire for a massive media spotlight towards himself above all else.
  • Translation Convention: The all-Norwegian setting has the characters speaking English, likely to reach a wider audience.
  • Villain Protagonist: Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right terrorist responsible for the deaths of 77 innocents, is front and center for a good half of the film, the remainder alternating between his victims (Viljar Hansen being the most prominent) and investigators.
  • Western Terrorists: Anders is one, having grown up in Norway all his life and launching his attack as part of a far-right ultranationalist belief system.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: At the end of the film, its revealed that Viljar is studying law and plans to become a politician, Geir Lippestead still practices law, Jens Stoltenberg remained Norway's prime minister until 2013 to become the Secretary General of NATO, and Breivik is serving his sentence in solitary confinement.
  • White Shirt of Death: When Anders Breivik enters the campground and starts firing on the fleeing children, the ones we see getting hit are invariably wearing white sweatshirts.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Anders kills scores of teenagers at the summer camp. He later makes it clear to his lawyer that the victims were specifically chosen for their young age as a way to torment their parents for their left-wing beliefs, as well as cripple a future generation of leftist politicians.

Alternative Title(s): July 22

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