Inapplicable is Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil”; there’s nothing banal about Andres Behring Breivik’s (1979) sinful slaughter of seventy-seven innocents on July 22nd, 2011. Director Paul Greengrass’s realistically brutal film, shuns sugarcoating the scenario of Norway’s heinous contribution to mass annihilation; another crazed, warped individual rallying against “multiculturalism”, Marxism and its infestation of Norway’s purified, homogenous population. Anders Behring Breivik never wavers, apologizes, regrets his demented manifesto: bombing of a government building and the slaying of 69 children at a Workers Youth League Camp (affiliated with the liberal Labour Party); reminiscent of what is evilly pervasive in today’s Western world. Actor Anders Danielsen Lie, with trepidation, took the role of Breivik, and gifts insanity certifiable righteousness; Breivik declares his actions were in self defense “on behalf of my people, my city, my country.” Lie’s interpretation chills with its accurate, unelaborate depiction of a megalomaniac in a “gray flannel suit.”
Problematic, are the survivors and Greengrass is temptingly close to stepping beyond the borders of civility; focusing on brothers Viljar and Sveinn Hanssen, vibrant, gigantically free, young, Viljar (Jonas Strand Gravil) the elder, protector of Sevinn (Thorbjorn Harr) are tracked, shot, terrorized by Breivik; watching as their friends are murdered, Viljar is wounded and Sevinn escapes, both irrevocably scarred for life; Viljar’s heart wrenching testimony is emotionally pulverizing.
Michael Moore’s 2015, “Where to Invade Next” examines the European attitude toward work, education, gender equality; a shocking segment on Norway’s maximum security prisons (capital punishment is not recognized), is flabbergasting; inmates have their own bar-less “suites”, private showers; kitchens with knives, and keys to their rooms, unarmed guards; eliminating “cruel and unusual punishment” fostering rehabilitation, murderers, rapists, eventually rejoin society; Norway’s recidivism rate, at 20%, is one of the lowest in the world. Unfathomable, is Andres Breivik serving a twenty-one year sentence, in gentrified accommodations, including an exercise room and laptop; justifiably, he will not be released if the system feels he is an imminent societal threat.
I opt for viewing, not eschewing, this testament of “man’s inhumanity to man.”
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!