Netflix picked up the rights to Paul Greengrass’ next film, which will focus on a 2011 terrorist attack in Norway that killed 77 people.
Per Deadline, “The horrific violence was inflicted by Anders Behring Breivik, a self described right-wing Christian extremist with a hatred for Muslims. He started the carnage by detonating a fertilizer bomb outside the headquarters of the prime minister that killed eight people. After that, Breivik dressed in a police uniform, took a short ferry ride to Utoya Island outside of Oslo, and methodically murdered teens attending a Labor Party Youth Camp as they tried to escape. The madman, who wrote a 1500 page manifesto critical of Muslim immigration and European liberalism that he was not permitted to read at trial, was sentenced to 21 years. That was the maximum possible sentence in a country that doesn’t have the death penalty.”
Greengrass has showed time and again he’s capable of taking disturbing real-life events and transforming them into compelling movies without ever feeling exploitative. While Greengrass is also attached to an adaptation of the graphic novel Torso and Memphis, which is about the manhunt for Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, it looks like this Norwegian film will shoot first. Deadline reports, “the film will be shot in Norway at a $20 million budget with local actors. Prep will begin this week for a fall shoot.”
While the project itself sound riveting, I can’t help but be dismayed with the Netflix pickup. I like Netflix for some things, but when they acquire a title, it just gets lumped into their content stream. It’s also harder to lose yourself in a Netflix movie because you’re at home and surrounded by distractions. I love Netflix for light movies and easygoing TV shows, and I also think it’s valuable for documentaries that probably would probably have a tough time with theatrical distribution anyway.
But with a movie like this, where it’s incredibly topical (a right-wing terrorist), and you can get people out to the theater with “From the Director of United 93 and Captain Phillips”, a Netflix premiere seems like a waste. It’s just absorbed into the content stream where it will sit alongside acclaimed Sundance premiere I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore and acclaimed Cannes premiere Okja, and you will still be wondering when’s a good time to watch any of them.