I watched a special screening of Utøya: July 22 with the director explaining some of the project genesis, the bitter rivalry with Netflix over the Paul Greengrass film, and the technical difficulties of filming a single-take 90 min film. I first heard about this on the BBC Film Programme, worth to listen if the director is not available in person, since he goes over the same points.
This is a real-time “re-enactment” of the Utøya massacre, filmed entirely from the victims POV. A bunch of nerdy teens (not all of them politically inclined) are hanging out when out of the blue shots are fired and they run and hide for their lives for agonizing 90 minutes. Most of the time you only see the forest floor and those teens running, hiding or dying.
You-Know-Who only appears from afar, as a shadow, but it’s still one of the main characters.
The ending seals the deal.
It’s not really a re-enactment, it’s a fiction constructed from the testimony of all the survivors, but all the highlights really happened.
The sound design is really fabulous, it makes each shot, scream or plead count. It’s a very nerve-wracking film, particularly the first half. You feel each of the shot, but the long pauses between them only make the silence worse. You can compare it Blair Witch, but it’s much more powerful, maybe because I saw it on the cinema.
Ironically, Paul “Bourne” Greengrass is the director chosen to make the polar opposite of a movie filmed with an handheld camera.