World Cinema Wednesday: The Wave (2015)
Based on a scarily plausible scenario, The Wave is an impressive disaster movie from Norway that will tick all of the boxes for fans of the subgenre. It may start off feeling a bit different from other, similar, movies but the second half plays out in a manner predictable enough for anyone who has seen this kind of thing before (not that it makes it all less tense and entertaining).
Kristoffer Jonner plays Kristian, a man who is about to leave his job monitoring mountain movement above a narrow Norwegian fjord. If part of the mountain crumbles and collapses then it will create such a splash that a huge wave, hence the title, will take ten minutes to reach, and pretty muc destroy, the nearby village of Geiranger. It’s no longer going to be a worry for Kristian, however, as he gets ready to start a new life, and new job, with his family (wife, teenage son, and younger daughter), away from the dangerzone that he’s convinced Geiranger is. Of course, he’s the only one not underestimating the seriousness of the situation, which makes him a good man to have around when the mountain starts to move more than usual.
Directed by the fantastically-monikered Roar Uthaug, The Wave keeps things moving along nicely for most of its 105-minute runtime. It’s just a shame that it seems to run out of steam just before the very end, with an extended sequence that builds tension before losing it all again, just in time for the cheesiest moment in the whole film. Writers Harald Rosenløw-Eeg and John Kåre Raake can take the blame for that, I guess, but it’s unfair to note that without also giving them credit for sketching a solid central family unit that you’ll end up really rooting for.
The acting is very good from all concerned. Jonner makes a decent lead, owning the failings of his character as well as his strengths, and Ane Dahl Torp is a good match for him, playing his wife, Idun. Jonas Hoff Oftebro could have easily been nothing more than a constantly moping teen, and comes perilously close, but he and Edith Haagenrud-Sande, playing his younger sister, manage to avoid being irritating thanks to the pace of the film, and their performances.
Impressive special effects top everything off, resulting in superior blockbuster fare that sits easily alongside anything similar churned out by Hollywood in recent years.
DIRECTOR: ROAR UTHAUG
WRITER: HARALD ROSENLØW-EEG, JOHN KÅRE RAAKE
STARS: KRISTOFFER JONNER, ANE DAHL TORP, JONAS HOFF OFTEBRO, EDITH HAAGENRUD-SANDE
RUNTIME:105 MINS APPROX