Title: ‘The Wave’ (original title ‘Bolgen’)
Director: Roar Uthaug
Cast: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro
Take notes, Hollywood. This is how you produce a proper, engaging disaster movie. ‘The Wave’ was the Norwegian submission for this year’s Academy Awards, not to mention one of Norway’s biggest commercial successes at the box office.
The premise of the movie is based on scientific facts: no one can predict exactly when, but one day the mountain pass of Akneset will collapse and start a tidal wave of devastating proportions. In less than 10 minutes, the tsunami will reach the coast of Geiranger, wiping the town off the map.
Though quite linear and even a little predictable at times, the script is immune to the gratuitous spectacularization of death and the cheap patriotic machism that make the American products of this genre so unbearably annoying. The characters are real enough to let you care about them, and the catastrophic events portrayed in the film are not just something to wow at while munching popcorns, but they are represented for what they really are, that is a terrifying force of nature indiscriminately claiming lives.
With a budget of only 6.5 million dollars, I was blown away by how fantastic the visual effects looked. Not only the wave itself, but also the subsequent devastation were perfectly recreated in scary details.
The stunning images of the fjords are an added plus that will seriously make you consider a trip to Norway.