It was only a matter of time.
Director Roar Uthaug’s Norwegian thriller THE WAVE (Bølgen) (2015) is an impressive natural disaster film that depicts just how a giant wave, in an instant, eradicate Geiranger, an actual town nestled in the crevasse of a mountain in the southern part of Norway. Geiranger is threatened by a very likely collapse of the adjoining Akerneset mountain. The landslide, epically depicted in the film, would violently dump into the fjord and birth a tsunami of catastrophic proportions devouring everything–and everyone–in its path.
The impending devastation intensifies as the narrative dramatizes the impact of such a disaster as it consumes the daily life of an energetic geologist, Kristian Eikjord (Kristoffer Joner), set to leave his quiet job at the Geirangerfjord Warning Center for an oil company, believes that something bad is about to happen. Complacency has its grips on the other members of his team, who insists that the mountain is stable, and readily dismisses the initial “red warnings” the monitoring equipment alerts. This pivotal moment in the film immediately sets it apart from the typical disaster genre by positioning its main character in a dynamic role of not only as a very dedicated professional but also concerned for the safety and wellbeing of his family, and every person living in the village nestle within the palm of a mountain.
When disaster strikes, the entire population provided with just 10 minutes to escape the impending surge of frigid water. This devastation occurs almost in real time and not marred by an “extension of circumstances” prevalent in many mainstream disaster films. Don’t expect to see lengthy doomsday speeches and warnings from public officials, or wide-angled views of frantic patrons escaping touristy locales only to have the buildings they were in fall on top of them or cars with people still in them swallowed by a sudden fault cracked opening of roads or crumbling bridges. It just isn’t that kind of a movie.
Instead, Wave is an impressive, and immediately personable disaster flick that involves audiences visually with spectacular views of Norway’s Geiranger mountains and greenery, and complements with an aura of doom where at any moment there will be a rockslide. All the beauty previously set before your eyes, erased by a massive 300-foot tidal wave. The visual aftermath of the town of Geiranger is just as devastatingly striking and made better by aptly combining a familiar narrative with the absolute: to this very day, the Akerneset crevice is monitored continuously and is still expanding. All experts agree that there will be a rockslide, but do not know when.
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