Reel Quick: The Wave


The Wave (2015)


Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, Edith Haagenrud-Sande, Fridtjov Såheim… various Norwegians

Directed by: Roar Uthaug! (Cold Prey; Magic Silver; Escape; the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot)

Synopsis: All that Norwegian death metal finally angers the gods so much that they rattle a mountain causing a massive landslide and then a massive wave that waves over a Norwegian town and causes a wave of destruction.

What works: 

  • The characters are all likable and well-fleshed out, for the most part. Which helps you give a crap about what happens to them later. You know, when the WAVE comes. The stories play out nicely and surprises happen along the way that you don’t expect, mostly.
  • The money sequence when the landslide and the wave happen are top notch. Well, on a Norwegian scale.


What doesn’t work: 

  • I realize this movie was made on a budget that didn’t come anywhere close to something like San Andreas, so it’s unreasonable to expect that the destruction and boob levels of The Wave to be on par with San Andreas, but the disaster scenes were just ok in The Wave, and there wasn’t nearly enough shown of the titular wave laying waste to the town. The scene of the wave coming toward and hitting the hotel was nice, but there wasn’t much more than that. 
  • [SPOILER] Can we please, as a movie-making and -watching universe, PLEASE, stop it with the film ending where someone drowns (or even just seems dead) and their loved ones give them CPR and it doesn’t seem to work so everyone gives up and starts crying as it sets in that their loved one is dead but then NO I WON’T GIVE UP ON HIM/HER THAT EASILY!! and they start CPR again and lo and behold they spit out water and/or cough and THEY LIVE and everyone’s happy and are now crying tears of joy instead of sorrow. ENOUGH. San Andreas also ended the exact same way, but I forgave it because it was Alexandra Daddario getting chest compressions. 

Overall: I am a disaster movie mark, and will watch pretty much anything with wanton destruction in it, such as the video I made of the birth of my daughter. Most disaster movies are pretty terrible overall, but they’re usually a lot of fun as well, and you always know what you’re getting into anyway. So The Wave appealed to me when it popped up on Netflix Instant, and it seemed to have a healthy amount of positive ratings. Was it richly deserved? Well, it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as disastrous (in a good way) as I would have liked. There is a lot more character development and relationship arcs in this than most, and some people might like that sort of thing. Norwegians, I suppose. But it works for the most part and I recommend it for fans of disaster movies and Scandinavian geology.

Score: 6.6 Because 6s Look Like Waves at the Top (out of 10)

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