Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dhal Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro
Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Created by: John Kåre Raake, Harald Rosenløw-Eeg
Original Year of Release: 2015
Run Time: 105 Minutes
When Hollywood produces a disaster film it is typically something that is an epic, global catastrophic event. However, the Norwegian produced “The Wave” deals with a much more regional disaster and one that is quite real to the residents of Norway. With many towns and villages located on fjords, surrounded by mountains, the danger of tsunami producing rockslides is a daily threat.
Set within the quaint village of Geiranger, Kristian is a geologist who works for the local agency that monitors seismic movements in the mountains and assess the threat to the residents. Krisitan has accepted a job with an oil company in a larger town and is ready to move his family. On the way to the local ferry with his son and daughter and already on edge over sensor readings, he suspects that there is an imminent threat. His co-workers believe he is over-reacting and so he returns for one more night in his home with his daughter while his teenaged son Sondre spends the night with his wife, Idun, at the hotel where she works.
Kristian and his daughter lie down for the night while his former co-workers venture down into the mountain crevices to take a closer look. Kristian recalls past incidents where the crevices contracted rather than expanded and were quickly followed up by a rockslide. As the mountainside begins to tumble into the ocean he orders a red alert, setting off sirens throughout the village. However the people only have minutes to flee into the nearby hills before a massive tsunami strikes. With his daughter safe, Kristian has to navigate the village’s destruction and try to find his wife and son.
For a film with a budget of a mere $6.5 million The Wave makes good use of every penny. While its visual effects are nowhere near the level of films like “2012” or “San Andreas”, what is has it uses for maximum effect. We only get a couple of minutes, if that, of the massive wave and its devastation on the town but it is extremely effective. Director Roar Uthaug is a huge fan of American disaster films and he definitely learned his craft well. He didn’t have a large enough budget to pull off some of the effects seen in those bigger films, but makes up for it with a good dose of suspense as Kristian searches for his family.
The Wave features some truly awe-inspiring scenery. Filmed in Norway, the cinematography is absolutely breathtaking and as a lifelong resident of the suburbs I cannot imagine waking up in the morning and looking out my living room window to see towering mountains and a crystal clear blue lake. While it might be smaller in scale The Wave is an enjoyable and well-acted disaster film.
“Behind the Scenes of The Wave” (5:29)
“The Wave Visual Effects Breakdown: Part 1” Featurette (3:14)
“The Wave Visual Effects Breakdown: Part 2” Featurette (3:09)
“The Wave Visual Effects Breakdown: Part 3” Featurette (3:06)
Interview with Director Roar Uthaug (4:29)