The Wave – ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review

The Wave35

I’m not normally a fan of “disaster” films, but for some reason The Wave struck me as something worth watching.  A town on a lake, by a mountain in Norway sits ten minutes from disaster at any given moment.  The mountain is unstable, and there have been landslides before, the rock tumbling into the lake below which causes a wave that floods the town.  Around the turn of the century it happened and a tsunami wiped out the town.  The scientists know it will happen again.

Krisitan (Kristoffer Joner) is a geologist who has just taken a new job in another city and is preparing to move with his family (wife Idun played by Ane Dahl Torp and his children Sondre and Julia played by Jonas Hoff Oftebro and Edith Haagenrud-Sande) to somewhere inland and leave his friends who work at the station that monitors the mountain.  On his last day, after the cake has been eaten, and his desk cleared out, Kristian and the team notice an abnormal reading.  The team pass it off as being within safety limits, but promise the concerned Kristian they will continue to monitor it.  Naturally this wouldn’t be much of a movie if the main characters all move out of town safely…. In a bit of a cliche, Kristian does worry about the data and returns to the station even though his job is done.  Disaster does strike, the readings get worse, and the mountain is in motion.  With his wife working her last shift at a hotel with their son in tow, and Kristian and their young daughter saying goodbye with one final sleep in their old house, the race is on as the alarm sounds and the entire town has ten minutes to get to higher ground and escape the imminent wave.

I think I enjoyed this Norwegian disaster-thriller because everything seemed plausible.  The characters were smart but not supermen.  Kristian was a very intelligent geologist who used his training and knowledge to detect and diagnose the shift in the mountain, but he didn’t (and couldn’t) do anything to stop it.  Idun was a strong and intelligent woman, who kept her head and evacuated her hotel guests but got trapped saving her son.  These really seemed like real people doing what they were supposed to do in the event of this disaster that hey knew loomed above them.  They didn’t find a way to save the town, they didn’t save everybody, they didn’t escape without a scratch.  The town was devastated, lots of people died (including characters that were developed so we would have an emotional attachment to them), and lots of people were injured.  The disaster itself wasn’t caused by anything overly exaggerated like Godzilla, or an asteroid, or explosions, or mining, or any other sort of “man shouldn’t be doing this” situation, this was just caused by nature.

The film does a good job showing us what sort of people choose to live and visit this town that is known to be in a “danger zone”, and they are really just regular people, not thrill seekers or anything like that, but regular everyday people, living their lives but also living in a heightened state of alert.  The Wave also does an excellent job building the suspense before the climactic disaster occurs.  The movie really focuses on the characters and their development rather than dazzling action scenes which makes the whole thing work.  The cinematography and the effects were very good, as was the score.  Director Roar Uthaug did an excellent job making us care about the family, and masterfully broke the story down to three acts: calm before the storm, the wave, and the results.  I really enjoyed the cast, and it was nice to see that the family involved were just a normal family, not downtrodden or divorcing or angry, just normal.  They didn’t need a gimmick attached to them so the audience would care about them.  Kristoffer Joner was excellent as the likeable guy at work, and as a dedicated family man.  Ane Dahl Torp equalled him as his hardworking wife.  I really did enjoy her, and I knew she looked familiar.  I had to look it up, but Dahl Torp was in Dead Snow, the 2009 Nazi-Zombie flick!

Bottom Line: This could almost be an anti-Hollywood disaster film.  Much better than the effect filled spot-fests we’ve been fed before.


Posted on 17-05-20, in 3.5 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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