Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Cast: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, Fridtjov Såheim
This isn’t the first time covering Roar Uthaug’s (Cold Prey) new disaster flick, The Wave. It won’t surprise me if I find myself crafting yet another review of this one. And not for one single moment do I feel put out by repeated explorations of the picture. It’s brilliant, far more brilliant than you may believe, knowing it’s yet another disaster, man-versus-elements story. We all know they’ve been done to death.
But they haven’t been done like this.
Uthaug looks to distance his picture from the vast majority by placing the humanity within the film at the forefront. Don’t get that confused, the movie is indeed about a natural disaster that threatens to destroy every living being in a small, isolated Norwegian town, but when you peel back the veneer it’s really about love and familial bonds.
Uthaug is a highly refined filmmaker. He knows characters. He knows conflicts. He knows how to bring those two head-to-head and thrill moviegoers every second of the way. And, perhaps most importantly, he knows how to force audiences to fall in love with protagonists.
We care about the unfortunate individuals trapped in a tsunami in this quaint little village. We really care about Kristian, who’s forced to tangle with the elements and defy the odds in order to save his family. And whether or not he is but a mere mortal man, he’s got no quit in him, and he’ll face a tsunami with no qualms if it means saving the love of his life and his children.
Look for jaw-dropping special effects, absolutely mystifying scenery and balls-to-the-wall action scenes from this one. And don’t think you get all of that without A+ performances from Kristoffer Joner (Kristian), Ane Dahl Torp (Kristian’s wife Idun) and Jonas Hoff Oftebro (Sondre), Kristian and Idun’s oldest boy. Respectful work from all involved? We think so… and then some!
If you’ve never found yourself too stimulated by disaster films (Rolland Emmerich’s entire résumé – sans Independence Day – leave my stomach attempting cartwheels, for all the wrong reasons), we beseech you to give this one a try. It’s not your average end of the world film. It looks breathtaking, the performances are truly elite, and the character exploration is brilliant.
Definitely one of the best films I’ve seen in 2016!