Genre: Drama • Fantasy • Thriller
Director: Koen Mortier
Starring: Sam Louwyck, Barbara Callewaert, Titus De Voogdt
Duration: 88 min.
Sam works as a security guard at a shopping center, and has arrived at work for another dreary day when he's greeted by a massive explosion. As Sam drifts through the streets of the city, he's confronted by the specters of the people caught in the explosion as they tell him of their lost dreams and hopes and point out how he failed to save them from the bombing.
22nd of May is a film written and directed by Belgian filmmaker Koen Mortier. It premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. It follows Sam (Sam Louwyck), a mall security guard who is haunted by the spirits of bombing victims he failed to save.
After a lengthy opening sequence showing Sam going through his daily routine and arriving for his mundane job, we see his reality forever changed when a bomb explodes at his workplace. He finds himself in a surreal purgatory like state where he has to deal with the guilt of not preventing the disaster, as one by one, the victims confront him with the stories of their lives.
It is setup brilliantly, as even though we know what is about to happen, the languid pace and the natural performances manage to build tension as well as lull us into believing that this is just another normal day. Unfortunately the screenplay loses its way after the explosion, as the victims' stories are uneven, some mildly interesting, others not so much. The film is somewhat saved by the spectacular finale with impressive effects that replays the blast in ultra slow motion from multiple angles.
— Bonjour Tristesse