It is rare to find a disaster film that does not rely on CGI to make an impact. Such is the case with The Wave, a genuinely gripping film, not set in America, that makes full use of the spectacular Norwegian scenery.
Set in Norway’s Sunnmøre region, Geiranger is one of the most spectacular tourist destinations in the world. With the mountain Åkerneset overlooking the village and constantly threatening to collapse into the fjord – it is also a place where disaster could strike at any moment.
After working for several years at Geiranger’s warning centre, geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) is moving on to an impressive new job with an oil company. However, on the very day he’s about to drive his family to their new life in the city, Kristian senses something isn’t right. The substrata in the mountain are shifting.
No one wants to believe that this could be the big one, especially with tourist season at its peak, but when that mountain begins to disintegrate, everyone in the town has ten minutes to get to high ground before a tsunami hits, consuming everything in its path.
Can and how does Kristian get his family to safety when they are separated in very different locations? This premise forms the plot for this film.
This is a beautifully constructed film. The tension mounts gradually and while one senses everything will turn out well, there are many surprises along the way.
There is never a dull moment as there are several subplots to follow, all equally interesting. These subplots are enhanced by the naturalistic acting style of the cast.
Kristoffer Joner is the pivot of the film, a multifaceted man whose marriage is on the rocks but fiercely devoted to his family and the safety of his town. He is driven, intense and an authentic hero.
The rest of the cast is equally talented, but too numerous to mention. There is a real ensemble feel to this film.
The big star is, of course, the unbelievable scenery which is stunningly filmed. All in all, an excellent film for a disaster film aficionados or anyone who loves a well-crafted movie!
Reviewed by Barry Hill
Rating out of 10: 10