For a long time, the only film that made it out of Scandinavia was gritty crime drama, notable for gorgeous cinematography and well-paced execution. The Wave is both of those things, but here, villain is nature.
Set in a small town on the Norwegian fjord of Geiranger, The Wave is a disaster movie; though it’s on a smaller scale to the ones churned out by Hollywood, it is just as nail-biting – perhaps even more so. The drama unfolds slowly: Kristian, a geologist, is leaving town, but on his last day at work (monitoring the mountain overlooking the fjord) something in the mountain shifts. When the landslide happens it will trigger an 85m tsunami. The town will only have ten minutes to react.
Though the film hits all the clichéd disaster movie beats it’s undeniably compelling. Much of the action focuses around Kristian and his young family and the lengths they would go to survive, and while there’s not much there to set The Wave apart from bigger budget flicks, their bond feels real, their pain and their struggles chilling. By focusing on a small town and a handful of people, it seems somehow more tangible.
The Wave is set apart by the stunning visuals, which owe a lot to the natural beauty of Norway, but the wave and it’s aftermath are equally breathtaking. On such a small budget, director Roar Uthaug has created some absolutely awe-inspiring scenes. Tension is built expertly and underpinning this all is the knowledge that this will one day become a reality. The movie opens and closes with this ominous message and it serves as a sobering reminder.
The Wave is released nationwide on 12th August 2016.
Watch the trailer for The Wave here: