Sunday, 24 July 2016

Film Review: The Wave

Roland Emmerich eat your heart out; Roar Uthaug’s The Wave takes the cake for heart-pounding disaster spectacle.

The Wave is a Norwegian disaster movie that sees the idyllic tourist village of Geiranger devastated by a vicious tidal wave following an avalanche. It follows geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner), his wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp) and their two children as they battle through the fallout of the catastrophe.

Director Roar Uthaug’s film follows a fairly conventional narrative that you’ve likely witnessed before, but unlike the overblown disaster porn that we see from the likes of Roland Emmerich, The Wave narrows its focus to a single town nestled at the end of a single picturesque fjord.

It’s not the San Andreas fault that threatens to sink the entire California coast, but rather a towering mountain that looms menacingly above the livelihoods of just a few thousand people – and the film feels suitably personal and gripping as a result. The character work through the first half is exceptional as it makes us care for the family later on when tragedy strikes.

What immediately grabs you about The Wave is the sheer ambition of the production and the enormity of what the filmmakers have achieved. The visual effects are staggeringly polished considering the comparatively small budget; we’re talking blockbuster VFX on just a fraction of the cost. Technical elements such as shaky-cam, sound design and score are all used to great effect, placing the audience there in the moment to witness the terror and the scale of the tsunami.

After that, nothing quite excites to the same degree; we follow the family through the aftermath, but the film doesn’t come close to matching the brilliance of that heart-pounding fifteen-minute ticking clock sequence that sees the roaring flood draw nearer to the tranquil Nordic inlet – it’s practically worth the price of admission in itself.

The Verdict: 8/10

An impressive and exciting spectacle that also doesn't skimp on the substance. Impressive visuals and performances in equal measure.

The Wave will be screening in Perth as part of the 2016 Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival from July 21 to August 3.

This review was originally published over at Hooked on Film, a Perth based website where you can find even more new release movie reviews, features, interviews and insight. Click here to check it out. 


  1. Yeah, this film was super impressive on technical levels.

    Nice review.

    - Zach

    1. It's always nice getting to sample something a little different! Thanks for commenting Zach :)



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