We tried to see this at the Whistler Film Festival but they had both technical and organizational difficulties that meant the movie just didn’t play at our intended screening, and they weren’t able to get us into any other.
The good news is, it’s on Netflix now, and you can satisfy your curiosity as to how Norwegians handle disaster flicks. The easy answer: a lot like us. Sure they sound a bit like the Swedish Chef (yes I really am this ignorant!), but they’re privy to all the same tropes that we are:
- One guy knows the disaster is coming. No one will listen to him.
- His family is split up. Can he save his wife and son?
- His son is of course not paying attention. Doesn’t hear warnings. Impedes escape.
- Outrunning the disaster. Usually unsuccessful for most.
- Since the disaster is never enough, there has to be a superficial villain, and his or her karmic death.
- One word title. You may think the The in The Wave negates this, but it’s just Bølgen in its language of origin.
Kristian (Kristoffer Joner, in a weird combination of Hillary Clinton haircut and ginger pedo mustache) is a geologist who knows what’s coming, only no one will believe him. Classic case of ignored scientist syndrome. His wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp) and son Sondre (Jonas Hoff Oftebro) are at a resort hotel in town. He and his young daughter Julia (Edith Haagenrud-Sande) are of course elsewhere so of course when the alarm finally does sound, it’s too late for most, and this family will have to further test the odds by dividing them.
The disaster: an avalanche causes a rock slide which causes a violent tsunami. And it was such a picturesque fjord up until then. Everyone starts driving in an up direction, which of course causes deadlock. They abandon cars to run. Some are so stupid you’ll hope to see them die (everyone else screams at this idiot too, right? Like, fuck, your stuffed bunny from the carnival where you had your 3rd best date isn’t literally to die for you motherfucker!!!) But the end for some will be so horrible you’ll take it all back, forgive them all their dumb mistakes. More or less.
There are fewer special effects scenes in this movie, which they make up for with more character, and that’s refreshing in a tired genre. In fact, this setting being relatively unknown is a nice change of pace. There’s no White House explosion or underwater Statue of Liberty. It’s new to my eyes, and likely to yours. Director Roar Uthaug gives us gritty rather than slick but it went down just as easily.