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Film Review: “The Wave” (2015) ★★★


Almost every year Hollywood delivers a different kind of disaster films that entertain the audience with spectacular visual effects which blows away our minds. But when a catastrophy film comes from a different part of the world, such as Europe, we need to keep in mind that this product is not made by Hollywood, and that means we have to tune ourselves into European mode, to be able to see it from their perspective. Roar Uthaug’s “The Wave” is a surprisingly solid disaster drama from Norway that gives you more than you could have possibly expected.

Kristian is a geologist who, in order to find peace in his marriage, agrees to switch his job location from the mountains to the city. However, before he packs his stuff, he goes back to his office that locates in Akernes/Geiranger, just 102.1 meters above sea level. Shortly after his arrival, he hears a strange sound that comes from the monitor, where the system warns about the movement in the groundwater. Kristian is certain that this is not just a problem with the sensors, but clear indication of the beginning of something terrible that can occur in Geirangerfjord. Despite Kristian’s warnings, his former boss disagrees with him and sends him back home, to get ready for a new chapter of his life. But for the dedicated scientist, it was mush easier said than done. Unfortunately, soon he will be proven right, but then it will be too late to reduce the amount of lives lost.

The opening scene of “THE WAVE” dedicates its few minutes to the introduction of the landslide of January 15, 1905 that occurred in Lodalen in Nordfjord. The result was a massive tsunami that killed 63 people. Then, you get a hint that it’s only a matter of time before you witness history repeating itself in Gerainger. Kristian, by the time when the story develops significantly, knows for sure that the catastrophe is inevitable and that people must get a chance to leave the city before the wave sweeps out the city. However, by the time when a geologist pushes the button at The Early Waning Center, the Norwegian fjord Geiranger falls out and creates an 85-meter-high violent tsunami that quickly approaches the city, and is ready to sweep out everything in its path.

“The Wave” somewhat begins slowly, but not too slow to feel yourself getting bored. It starts to gradually build the plot while it concentrates on the possibility to warn people in time, before the tragedy occurs. However, you will see that the neglected attitude of one person will cause the death of many people, which could have been avoided. This is what perhaps you would not see much in Hollywood films, where everyone acts like a hero. Here, the approach is more down to earth, showing what it can to display the consequence of human action, and how one man alone tries to save his family, instead of teaching everyone what to do, as it usually happens in most of the films.

In conclusion, “The Wave” is worth watching. The tsunami scene is scary enough to make you look for a high place to hide. The performance delivered by its main cast, Kristoffer Joner as Kristian and Ane Dahl Torp as Idun, Kristopher’s wife is believable. It also does not overload you with unnecessary information and takes you right to the point. It shows the impact disasters can have. However, no matter how strong it is, it always fails to damage the human spirit, where afterwards the only desire you may have in that situation is to save your family.

THE WAVE opens March 4 in Toronto (Yonge-Dundas), Waterloo,  Halifax, Vancouver and Edmonton!

The film will open throughout the spring in other cities.

The film is also available March 4 on VOD.


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