Friday, August 12, 2016

Film Review: The Wave (2015)

The Wave (Review)
Norway/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most unnerving and terrifying disasters films I've ever seen."

A small Norwegian village is threatened when an anticipated rockslide causes an 80-meter tsunami...

The Wave is a disaster movie – a very familiar one. The film follows geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner), his wife, his teenage son, and his young daughter. Kristian is on the verge of moving away to pursue a new career. Unfortunately, we all know the worst things happen when you're near retirement. (The moral of the story: don't retire.) So, before Kristian can leave, signs show that there may be another rockslide on the horizon in an area prone to rockslides. Like many characters in past disaster films, he's told to settle down and move on. Well, Kristian was correct. I won't spoil any more of the film, but it generally follows a cliché formula using a set of generic characters. It leads to a strong ending, though.


It may sound like I'm preparing to bash the film, but I'm not. In fact, The Wave is one of the most unnerving and terrifying disasters films I've ever seen. It may start off a bit slow, focusing on its rather generic characters, but it ultimately pays off. Sure, these characters have been done before in other films, but the development here allows us to bond. Instead of hurling the audience into a disaster in the first ten minutes, it takes the time to craft its characters and build suspense. Thanks to this, the climax of the film is unforgettable. It's not perfect, though. Aside from the generic characters/formula, it does tend to rely on forced convenience. Sondre, Kristian's angsty son, is basically a walking plot contrivance. It doesn't destroy the experience, but it does otherwise taint a spectacle.

The cast was great, though. Kristoffer Jones and Ane Dahl Torp are splendid. The supporting cast, including the children, were also very effective. The film is shot beautifully. The cinematography is wonderful, particularly thanks to the gorgeous setting. The special effects are also fantastic, blending well with the rest of the film. The music also amplified the emotion and suspense in the film. The film was written by John Kåre Raake and Harald Rosenløw-Eeg. Roar Uthaug directs. The writing could have used some fine-tuning to iron out some of its issues. It is contrived and formulaic. Fortunately, Uthaug's direction is wonderful. Uthaug is able to crafts scene filled with genuine emotion, excitement, fear, and dread.

Overall, The Wave is a great disaster movie. It uses a worn-out formula to create a powerful catastrophe drama. You may know where it's headed at all times, but the journey is seriously suspenseful and exciting. This is how filmmakers should be making disaster movies. If you're looking for popcorn fun, check out San Andreas. If you're looking for something with a little more depth and suspense, check out The Wave.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your assessment. It deserves particular praise for how it uses minimal digital effects to achieve a big budget effect.

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