Movie Review – Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots is a bit of a lacklustre affair. The lines between fact and fiction are heavily blurred, leaving us with a film that tries too hard to be modern and forgets its own historical significance.

⭐ ⭐ ½
Elle Cahill

Mary Queen of Scots follows the life of 16th century heir to the Scottish throne, Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan), who returns to Scotland upon the death of her first husband, the King of France. By taking her rightful place as the Queen of Scotland, she threatens the legitimacy of the English throne, which was then held by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). Mary Stuart takes actions to maintain her claim to England as her homeland is torn apart by volatile politics and warring religious beliefs.

Mary Queen of Scots is one of those films that’s hard to place. It’s lengthy and repetitive and keeps us at a distance, never allowing us the opportunity to truly connect with any of its characters. Some of this may come down to first time film director Josie Rourke, whose background has largely been in theatre. She shoots her film a bit like a theatre production, regularly using wide shots to fit multiple players into one shot. Creating a barrier between the characters and the audience, Rourke’s approach causes the film to lose some of its intimacy, and in turn our sympathy towards Mary.

Saoirse Ronan takes control of the story in her usual strong form, but while Ronan is certainly fierce, her performance lacks the enchantment she’s brought to other recent roles, such as in Lady Bird and Brooklyn. It feels like she hasn’t quite managed to grasp Mary Stuart’s motivations for her actions, so the importance of some of the political moves Mary managed to pull off in her short reign are lost in the film.

As Queen Elizabeth I, Margot Robbie very much fades into the background, which is a shame as this was an opportunity for her to break the mould and put forward a very different performance to what we’ve seen from her before. Her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth lacks the hardened personality that we’ve come to expect from past performances (e.g. Cate Blanchett). Instead, she delivers a weeping, insecure woman who’s overwhelmed by the burden of the crown. Whilst I don’t mind taking a more sensitive approach to the historical figure, Robbie takes it too far and quickly becomes a dribbling, frustrating mess.

Mary Queen of Scots doesn’t shy away from the brutality of the time, showing both graphic rape scenes and death scenes, but it also attempts to present some modern ideas. There’s more than a bit of creative licence taken, and it ultimately feels out of place in a historical drama.

There are some lovely cinematic shots of the rugged Scottish landscapes and the costume design is stunning. There’s also a strong supporting cast that includes the likes of Guy Pearce, David Tennant and James McArdle, but the film doesn’t use any of this talent to its full potential. Overall, Mary Queen of Scots pales in comparison to other period pieces such as Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love and The Other Boelyn Girl. It’s not a bad film, I just wanted more.

Mary Queen of Scots is available in Australian films from January 18

Image (c) Universal Pictures 2019

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Movie Review – Glass

Glass unites the threads of Unbreakable and Split but fails to do anything truly interesting with them.

⭐ ⭐
Zachary Cruz-Tan  

Glass is a movie that takes itself very, very seriously. In fact, it’s so serious I wanted to grab its face and shove a hanger into its mouth. It is the third part of M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero trilogy that began in 2000 with Unbreakable and continued with Split in 2016. It unites the casts of both movies and throws them together for a super serious climactic showdown, which manages to simultaneously stir our intrigue and bore us to death.

James McAvoy returns as Kevin, the abused zookeeper from Split who manifests dozens of different personalities, the vilest of which is an animalistic reckoner called The Beast. Samuel L. Jackson is Elijah, who, with Bruce Willis’ David Dunn, has been quiet for eighteen years until, of course, the events of this movie. All three men are apprehended and confined to an insane asylum, where Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) is meant to convince them their powers aren’t scientifically possible.

The first two-thirds are well made and use the movie’s sombre mood to good effect. The orderlies march about the hospital, interacting with what I’m assuming are their only three patients. Dr. Staple observes from a distance. And Shyamalan uses the claustrophobia of his location to slowly build suspense the only way he knows how.

We start to get a feel for these characters, particularly Kevin, who is by far the most interesting of the three. He gives McAvoy the opportunity to try on a gazillion different accents and mannerisms as he swaps from a 9-year-old boy to a pair of Irish sisters, from a bro with a southern drawl to a mistress with a stick up her bum, like one of those quick-change illusionists. And there is no doubt McAvoy looks equally convincing topless or in a frumpy old dress.

However, everyone else kind of gets lost in the sternness of the plot. I feel like there’s much we could learn about David Dunn’s powers and morals, or why Elijah chooses to do what he does, but Glass darts along so single-mindedly that it ends up swallowing its own ambition.

It also succumbs to questionable writing, as when two suspects stroll past an oblivious security guard, or when a shady character proclaims her job description to the very people who appointed her to that job. I liked the creation of the superheroes and the zeal with which McAvoy chews his scenery, but really, the rest is suspect, and way too serious.

Glass is available in Australian cinemas from January 17

Image (c) Universal Pictures 2019

Movie Review – Colette

Keira Knightley delivers a stellar performance in a film that explores what it means to be a woman in the early 20th Century, embracing bisexuality before a term even existed for it. 

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Elle Cahill

Based on true events, Colette follows French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley), known publicly as Colette, who acts as a ghost-writer for her husband and Parisian socialite, Willy (Dominic West). After her novels become a hit and sequels are commissioned, Colette begins to fight for independence from Willy, determined to control her own life and let her brilliance shine.

Colette is as exquisite and daring as the story being told. Director Wash Westmoreland takes advantage of the gorgeous French countryside and the beautiful décor of the time period, filling every scene with beautiful things. With work like Still Alice under his belt, Westmoreland is able to confidently navigate the complexities that exist within personal relationships, especially when complications and betrayal arise. Westmoreland tackles a variety of timely subjects with a sensitive touch to deliver a story about a courageous young woman who was well ahead of her time.

Keira Knightley is at her best as the defiant Colette. Similar to her roles in other period pieces, such as Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and The Duchess, her tenacity and maturity mixed with her ageless appearance is enchanting and most importantly, likeable. There are many turns this film could have taken, but Knightley stays strong and self-righteous without being arrogant.

Knightley is supported by a cast that includes West and newcomer Denise Gough as the gender-bending Missy. West delivers as usual as Colette’s reckless and unfaithful husband, whose own insecurities prevent him from allowing his wife to receive the recognition she deserves. Missy, who dresses as a man and believes in defying stereotypes, is played by Gough with a quiet, haunting presence. She never pressures Colette to be different, but instead encourages her to share thoughts and feelings that she can’t air to the rest of society.

In this day and age, when we’re struggling to label these mixed feelings, Westmoreland delivers a new perspective that shows people have been struggling with their identity for a very long time. This coupled with Knightley’s unapologetic performance helps to cement Colette as a film that must be seen. 

Colette is available in Australian cinemas from December 20

Image courtesy of Transmission Films

Movie Review – Creed II

Creed II is a nimble and punchy sequel that overcomes its cliched beats to land some solid hits to the heart.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Rhys Pascoe

Creed II is a film of contradiction. At its core, it’s a story about stepping out of the shadows of what has come before to forge your own legacy and blaze your own trail. And yet, this sequel finds itself linking back to the original Rocky series (notably Rocky IV) more than ever before. Thankfully, it’s the former aspect that prevails, with director Steven Caple Jr. building on the groundwork laid by Ryan Coogler and continuing to shape a compelling narrative around a clutch of well-written, three-dimensional characters. In fact, it’s this groundwork and the ties to the legacy of the Rocky series that deepen the narrative and the film as a whole.

Having won the hearts of millions with a gutsy loss at the end of his first film, this sequel finds Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) finally climbing the boxing ladder through a series of powerful wins. After claiming the heavyweight title and with the world at his feet, Adonis still feels unfulfilled. That is until a new challenger emerges in the form of Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who famously killed Adonis’ father Apollo in the ring back in Rocky IV. Challenge accepted, thinks Adonis – until the significance of who he is about to face truly sinks in.

It may not have the same unquantifiable energy and power as Coogler’s astounding revival from 2015, but Creed II does have a lot to like. Jordan continues to impress as Adonis, both in a physical and emotional sense. The film hones in on Adonis’ relationship with fiancee Bianca (Tessa Thompson), and it’s here that the film’s themes of family, responsibility, duty and legacy shine brightest. Screenwriters Juel Taylor and Sylvester Stallone wisely place Rocky (played by Stallone) in the background for most of the film, pivoting to this core duo of Jordan and Thompson, as well as the Dragos.

So while it hits the usual beats you’d expect from a boxing movie, Creed II succeeds in making us care about how we get there. Having spent two films with these characters (a staggering eight for Rocky), I was invested in Adonis and Bianca, in their fight both in the ring and out of it. In continuing their story, Creed II and director Caple Jr. prove there is still fight left in this franchise. Bring on round three.

Creed II is available in Australian cinemas from November 29

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films

Movie Review – Widows

Steve McQueen once again deals with innocent characters facing desperate situations in Widows, a reimagining of the classic British TV drama.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Zachary Cruz-Tan

Widows is a movie that works, despite several fundamental flaws, simply because it is pitched at a level most of the human population will identify with. It is about a group of blue-collar women who must first grieve their dead husbands and then redeem themselves from the brink of desperation by breaking the law. This is a violent and cruel film, but also intimately unnerving in the way it presents life pushing people to the edge.

It is led by a stunning performance from Viola Davis, who employs her icy face to chilling effect. Her husband is the successful bank robber Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson), who, right from the get-go, is slaughtered along with his three accomplices when a heist goes terribly wrong. We get glimpses into who the men were. One was abusive, another apathetic, another irresponsible. As far as we can tell, they lived for crime. But their stories take a backseat to their wives’, who have to contend with the sudden life-threatening consequences left for them.

Just as nasty is the parallel plot of two politicians competing for alderman of a Chicago precinct. One is Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), a ruthless crime boss who wants repaid the $2 million stolen from him. The other is Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell), the wealthy white aristocrat eager to escape daddy’s shadow. And of course ther eare the other widows, played by Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Carrie Coon, so you can see how full this story is. There’s even room for Cynthia Erivo as an overly agreeable babysitter. And yet Widows plays easily, because it has a very clear through-line.

It is basically about a heist, but in clever ways it also deals with sexism, misogyny, racial alienation, the American gun society and perhaps most obviously, feminism. It is directed by Steve McQueen and written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn, whose previous Gone Girl also had a warped notion of gender empowerment.

Now, there is a twist that, naturally, I will keep to myself. It throws a bunch of questions into the air and contradicts certain motives. It made me wonder who knew what and how deeply they knew it. It forced me to doubt a character’s integrity. It even made me question the plausibility of the entire premise. But because the plot is so easily accessible, when the tension-filled climax finally arrived, I found myself on the edge of my seat.

Widows is available in Australian cinemas from November 22

Images courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Movie Review – Boy Erased

Boy Erased is an eye-opening film that looks into gay conversion camps that still exist all over the world. While lead actor Lucas Hedges delivers a strong performance, ultimately the film can’t compete against the similar new release Beautiful Boy.

⭐ ⭐
Elle Cahill

When Jared (Lucas Hedges) is forcibly outed to his Baptist preacher father Marshall (Russell Crowe) and mother Nancy (Nicole Kidman), they force him to participate in a Christian gay conversion program during his college break. As the program starts to lean on the side of abuse, Jared realises that just because the Church supports something, doesn’t always mean it’s correct.

Based on a true story, Boy Erased is an interesting and sometimes shocking film that looks at what it means to be a homosexual in Christian America. It deals with rape and being forced to come out when you’re not ready to. The situations that Jared is consistently put through are highly emotional and potentially damaging in the long run to a young man trying to find his way in the world.

Joel Edgerton writes, directs, and stars in the adaption of Garrad Conley’s memoir, and for such a surreal story and subject matter (I mean gay conversion programs in 2004 – are you for real??), Edgerton delivers a direct, graphic and honest film, not dissimilar to his previous film The Gift. Unfortunately, there are some predictable moments that’ll make you roll your eyes in exasperation, but if nothing else, the film is certainly educational.

Hedges delivers a mature and harrowing performance as a boy who was always so sure of the world and his position in it until moving away to college. His inner grappling with his “unnatural” feelings towards men is intense, but it’s his quiet defensiveness about his sexuality and fear to embrace his feelings that is the hardest part of the film to watch. The entire film is carried on his shoulders, but luckily Hedges rises to the occasion.

Kidman plays the role of the concerned mother and dutiful wife to a tee, with the only thing bringing down her performance being the ridiculous wig she wears. Kidman certainly has her moments and her ability to portray a variety of complex emotions without saying a single word is definitely at play in this film. Sadly, Crowe is reduced to a stereotypical father figure. Edgerton doesn’t make use of his acting ability and makes him a side note in the film that fails to make an impact.

Boy Erased is a complicated look at the extremes some people will go to in order to change things that don’t fit within their beliefs, but it’s overshadowed by its fellow recent release Beautiful Boy. At their core, Beautiful Boy and Boy Erased have very similar storylines. Unfortunately, Boy Erased falls short of Beautiful Boy’s execution. If Boy Erased had been released three months before Beautiful Boy, it might have been received differently, but in comparison, Boy Erased is far more formulaic and consequently loses out to Beautiful Boy.

Boy Erased is available in Australian cinemas from November 8 

Image (c) Universal Pictures 2018

Movie Review – A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper’s first outing as a director is an exciting success, but the real star here is Lady Gaga. She lights up the screen with her incredible voice and relatively unknown acting ability, and the on-screen chemistry between her and Cooper makes for one hell of a ride.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Elle Cahill

You know Summer has finally arrived in Perth when the clouds clear away, the days become longer, and the outdoor cinema’s start releasing their programs. The Rooftop Movies in Northbridge deliver a fantastic experience, with the beautiful city skyline lighting up the background of the screen, and the cool Northbridge vibes creating the ultimate atmosphere. The food is delicious, the drink choices limitless and the beanbags crazy comfy, making it feel like home away from home. We were lucky enough to catch A Star Is Born on the rooftop.

A Star Is Born is about the trajectory of two musicians’ careers’. Ally (Lady Gaga) is a young singer on the rise to fame and fortune, whereas Jack (Bradley Cooper) is on a downward spiral. The pair fall in love and attempt to navigate their relationship through their individual success and failures, with the latter succumbing more and more to his drug and alcohol abuse.

A Star Is Born is a remarkable feat that marks the fourth remake of this story, with the others opening in 1937, 1954 and 1976 respectively. This latest adaptation is the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper and despite being a remake, the film feels fresh and original. Cooper confidently takes control, capturing what it feels like to be onstage performing to large crowds, as well as his character’s unique view of Ally. He cuts in unusually close, focussing on specific facial features of Ally when they’re having intimate moments, and it really adds to the affectionate nature of the scenes. Audio has also been used in a really interesting way. Whilst music is littered throughout the film, Cooper has reserved the music largely for when the pair are performing, keeping the soundscape very quiet outside of the stage.

Cooper plays the addiction riddled Jack to his usual high standard, easily pulling off the gruff, anger-filled fading musician type. His love for Ally is believable, as is the pain and suffering the pair go through as their careers pull them further and further apart. Cooper is supported by Sam Elliott who plays his much older brother-turned-manager Bobby. Elliott brings a quiet strength to the film, and its Bobby’s constant presence, even when him and Jack are fighting, that brings a comforting calmness to the film.

But ultimately A Star Is Born is the Lady Gaga show. She completely and utterly steals the spotlight with her amazing vocals and emotive ballads. But it’s not just about her voice – she has the acting chops as well. This film proves the girl can act and the chemistry between her and Cooper is unreal. Ally’s growth over the course of the film has you rooting for her the entire way. She’s an admirable character who sacrifices much to love and protect Jack.

Cooper has made a valiant attempt to tell both sides of the story for this couple, and for the most part it works. The film overall is a little bit too long and there are moments in the middle that could have been cut, but in terms of expressing the addiction and craziness of fame, the film hits all the right notes. This wasn’t an easy task for Cooper to undertake, especially on his first outing as a director, but he has managed to modernise a timeless film with enough soulful tracks to keep the buzz around this film going, at least until Oscar season.

Program 1 of Rooftop Movies runs until December 9th, with another three programs to follow. You can see the full program at: https://www.rooftopmovies.com.au/program

A Star Is Born is available in Australian cinemas from October 18.

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films.

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody

It was all smiles leaving the cinema but let’s see what Hooked On Film’s three reviewers really thought of Bohemian Rhapsody.

⭐ ⭐
Zachary Cruz-Tan

I think it’s safe to say it’s never a good sign when a film’s director is abruptly dispatched from a project in the middle of production. No good comes of it. It’s like sitting through a Beatles record only to have Justin Bieber finish out the last three songs. Bohemian Rhapsody suffers such a fate, which is a shame because it’s about one of the most powerful bands of the rock era and is carried by a lead performance that is sure to be around come awards season.

Queen was fronted by Freddie Mercury, who famously said, “When I’m performing I’m an extrovert, yet inside I’m a completely different man”. In Bohemian Rhapsody Mercury is played by the brilliant Rami Malek, who indeed commands the screen with Freddie’s mystical charm and achieves something special – he holds us in the palm of his hand. Too bad, then, that the film constructed around him feels like an empty B-side. Directing difficulties aside, the writing by Anthony McCarten is filled with placeholder dialogue that does little to elevate the material beyond a very basic, predictable, and often frustrating fictional biography.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Elle Cahill 

Bohemian Rhapsody has it’s faults and to be fair, it’s a hard task to recreate the story of a legendary band who’s reputation proceeded them. What is brilliant about this film is the cinematography and costume design. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel does some impressive camera manoeuvres, making use of the set design by weaving in, out and under objects, and using mirrors to capture reactions of characters. Similar to his work on Drive, Sigel almost utilises the camera as an extension of Mercury, creating a visually intimate style that captures the rawness of the emotion of screen.

Equally as spectacular as the cinematography is the costume design. Costume designer Julian Day manages to capture the incredible sense of style that Mercury had and recreate some of the more memorable costumes he wore during Queen’s stage shows. There’s an energy and empowerment that clothes gave Mercury, and Day not only captures his flamboyant style but Mercury’s change in fashion as the band progressed and grew in popularity.

There’s a lot of fun to be had while watching Bohemian Rhapsody, and while it’s not perfect, there is a lot of fantastic talent on display in the film, and it maturely handles Mercury’s life without detracting from his legacy.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐  ½
Corey J. Hogan 

As already mentioned, Bohemian Rhapsody is undeniably flawed in its approach to writing and storytelling. It’s more than a little telling that the band’s surviving members held some of the creative reigns, given that the expected focus on Mercury is pulled back to incorporate his less exciting band mates more – not to mention playing it safe and relatively formulaic, while glossing over some of the grittier elements like Mercury’s sexuality, substance abuse and HIV struggles.

But for all its shortcomings, Bohemian Rhapsody makes up for it in sheer spectacle. This is thanks almost entirely to an absolutely all-conquering performance from Malek as Freddie, who dazzles in an explosive, deliciously flamboyant turn that transforms him completely into the enigmatic legend. If Mr. Robot proved he had talent, this will skyrocket him straight to the A-list; you simply can’t take your eyes off him.

Elsewhere, the film succeeds where it recreates Queen’s many incredible live performances, perfectly capturing the energy and electricity that must have been felt amongst the thousands of people who witnessed them in the flesh. It culminates in an extended replica of their outstanding Live Aid performance of ’85 to a crowd of 100,000 people, a high note to ensure you leave the cinema positively buzzing. It might not be the great Freddie Mercury expose we dreamed of, but fans of Queen are in for a treat – as are Wayne’s World devotees, with a genius reference thrown in for good measure.

Bohemian Rhapsody  is available in Australian cinemas from November 01

Also screening as part of  the RoofTop Movies Program 1 on Dec 06.

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Movie Review – Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy is a brutally honest portrayal of drug addiction and the affect it has on the families of the addicted.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Elle Cahill 

Beautiful Boy is based on the true story of Nic Sheff, a young man who succumbs to drug and alcohol addictions, and his family’s experience as they attempt to help him overcome them, even after repeated relapses. Told mainly from the point of view of Nic (Timothée Chalamet) and his father David (Steve Carell), the film seamlessly covers many years in a seeming blur of time as Nic continually battles his inner demons.

Beautiful Boy is a heavy family drama that tackles one of the biggest issues affecting young people today. From the escapism and sheer terror felt by Nic, the desperation and grief David experiences as he desperately searches the streets for his son time and time again, the frustration of Nic’s stepmom, to his mother’s complete helplessness, it’s a difficult film to watch. For anyone who has experienced drug addiction amongst their loved ones, the tropes utilised in Beautiful Boy are all too familiar and equally painful to see played out on the big screen.

The film is led by an extremely talented cast. I’m a huge fan of Carell’s, of both his comedic and dramatic work, and he doesn’t disappoint in this role. He brings a different presence to the father role from other similar roles, choosing instead to take on a quiet desperation in David’s characterisation rather than the aggressive, shouting father figures that are all too common. This approach grounds the performance and has you empathising with David’s character a lot more. Chalamet is equally brilliant, and it’s his neurotic take on Nic that further alienates him from society. Chalamet’s ability to flick between his raging mood swings and playing the victim to try and get money from his family is both impressive and horrifically sad to watch.

Director Felix van Groeningen brings a hallucinogenic feel to the film and the timeline it operates within, causing confusion as to how much time has passed and where we are in the story, but just as quickly, it centres itself again and the story continues. Groeningen also manages to tell an intricate but honest story about the impact drugs have on the whole family. Maura Tierney does a great job at playing Nic’s stepmom, capturing the pain and detachment of someone who isn’t directly related to Nic but is emotionally attached to David. Her love for Nic is evident but the need to protect her own children from the realities of the world is also a driving factor that sees her take a much stronger stance against Nic.

The film is great, from the eclectic soundtrack all the way through to the brilliant casting and beautifully written script. The film is intense and feels longer than its two hours, but not in a bad way. It’s a well-balanced story that allows room for character growth and story development, without skipping over any characters or leaving questions unanswered. There are times when it’s hard to keep track of how much time has passed as the characters don’t seem to get older, but it’s a film that keeps you thinking long after you’ve seen it. That, for me, is the mark of a great film.

Beautiful Boy  is available in Australian cinemas from October 25 

Also screening as part of  the RoofTop Movies Program 1 on Dec 05.

Image courtesy of Transmission Films

Movie Review – 22 July

Not for the faint of heart… 22 July is a gutsy attempt at covering the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Elle Cahill 

Paul Greengrass’ latest offering tells the story of the 2011 terrorist attack in Norway that saw 8 people die in Oslo from a car bomb explosion set by extremist Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie). Breivik then travelled to Utøya island and stormed a youth camp armed with guns, killing an additional 69 people. 22 July focuses on survivor Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli) and the court case that followed the attack.

Known for the The Bourne Supremacy and Captain Phillips, Greengrass delivers a heavy and sometimes shocking retelling of the Norway terrorist attacks. He doesn’t hold back from showing the brutality of the actual attacks, as well as the aftermath of the event, in which Hanssen undergoes lifesaving surgery. Greengrass shows the graphic reality of having bullet fragments removed from the brain and the emotional toll of physical rehabilitation. Some may argue these visuals go too far and take advantage of the situation, but I think it is an honest portrayal of the devastation of the attack.

Jonas Strand Gravli is exceptional in capturing the wide range of emotions of Hanssen – from the sheer terror during the attacks, to his overwhelming grief toward the loss of his friends. His final confrontation with Breivik in the court proceedings is strong and powerful as he lays bare the impact the events have had on him personally.

But the standout here is Anders Danielson Lie as Breivik. He and Greengrass make Breivik out to be completely villainous, without going into too much depth about the reasons behind his actions. Lie plays Breivik as cold and calculating, with very little regard for the horrific consequences of his attacks. He seems to take a sick pleasure in the attention he receives, and at no point does he show even the slightest hint of remorse. Lie gives a performance that is compelling to watch, but also highly disturbing.

Overall, 22 July is a valiant attempt to tell the story of the Norway terrorist attack. It doesn’t try to hide away from the ugly truth and goes the extra mile to explore more than just the attack itself.

22 July is available on Netflix Australia from October 10 

Image Courtesy of Netflix Inc.