The Wave

Dir: Roar Uthaug
Star: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, Thomas Bo Larsen

Quality Scandinavian porn - albeit of the disaster kind, rather than the usual - which shows that Norway can pump out the "expert predicts disaster but no-one believes him" tropes with the best of them. In this case, it's geologist Kristian (Joner), who is literally on his way to a cushy oil-company job, from the small town at the end of a fjord where he has been monitoring an unstable mountain that could cause a tsunami if it collapses. Of course, his boss is unwilling to set the (again, literal) alarm bells off, what with it being the tourist season and all. Meanwhile, his wife (Torp) is finishing off her last shift at a local hotel, positioned invitingly right at the edge of the water. Of course, Kristian's fears prove entirely unfounded, and tourist season returns to its normal, idyllic sel... Oh, who am I trying to kid? Bring on the F-sized wave and resulting destruction, with a large side of popcorn, please.

While almost entirely obvious, save one glorious moment at the end where we thought it was going to head off in bleakly Nordic fashion, it's still very well done. I was surprised the wave hit so early, barely at the half-way point, and I was wondering what Uthaug was going to do to keep us interested after blowing his 250-foot high, watery load. Turns out, he's quite successful, with Kristian going through the utterly destroyed, eerie post-flood landscape in search of his family, who are stuck in the tsunami shelter at the hotel, and in danger of drowning there. That's not much of a surprise, really - who the hell builds a tsunami shelter in the basement? This aspect does become a little too predictable, but there's plenty here to enjoy, with production values that are certainly a match for Hollywood, and landscapes that should certainly do wonders for the local tourist trade. Or, at least, the parts of it that are more than 250 ft. above sea-level.

[January 2016]

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