Roar Uthaug's THE WAVE
A movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
If a scientist throws three ring binders full of research reports into a dumpster in Reel 1, you know that by Reel 3 he'll be back in that same dumpster desperately looking for those binders since they Explain The Disaster That's About To Happen That Only He Understands.
So it is with THE WAVE, a crackerjack Norwegian disaster flick that I definitely want my wife to see next time she tells me she wants to "... live by some water." A beautiful little tourist town lies at the end of a fjord that is close by a mountain that is being monitored because everyone knows that "some day" a landslide will occur triggering a tsunami that -- in ten minutes -- will inevitably wipe that little town and all the inhabitants off the face of the earth.
Our Hero, a geologist, is on his last day working at the monitoring station that has been installed to track the various tremors and shifts that might foretell such a landslide. If the landslide occurs, there's a big red button on the wall that will blow the sirens telling the locals they have ten minutes to escape to high ground. Our Hero knows, after reviewing the data found in the aforementioned dumpster, that the Big One is about to come -- and of course no one believes him, this being a disaster movie and all.
This is a terrific movie, one of the best of the disaster genre I've seen. Characters are well drawn, the plot and pacing are excellent (setup/disaster/aftermath), cinematography and music are perfect, and the special effects and sets are excellent. Scenes of massive destruction are economically placed and balanced by a focus on the people as the geologist desperately tries to save his family. Bits and pieces are drawn from other films (e.g., from THE ABYSS) but that's OK.
A word of warning; watch the film in Norwegian with English subtitles. The English dubbing is distracting since there is so much focus on the characters and how they interact, especially as we get to know them.
Review copyright (c) 2016 by Dennis D. McDonald