Friday, March 11, 2016

[Review] The Wave (Bolgen)

If you want to see a solid alternative to the typical Hollywood natural disaster flick, look no further than Norway's The Wave. (Not that I have anything against last year's Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson epic, San Andreas.)

Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) & Idun (Ane Dahl Torp), along with their two kids, are a perfectly happy family living in a small Norwegian village located near a set of mountains. Kristian, a geologist, is beginning to notice some alarming signs of an impending shake-up. And he isn't wrong. The serene and picturesque landscape, as well as the family's well-being are upended when a massive rockslide tumbles into a fjord and causes a powerful flood.

The story's beginning stalls for a great while in order to build quiet dread and anticipation. In fact, the main event doesn't hit until after 45 minutes in. But once it hits, it really hits, and the film launches into emergency chaos. It's safe to say that this is an intense experience. Everything is so crisply shot, and the camera's focus makes sure to emphasize the jarring shift from how a scenic destination can turn into a destructive danger zone within minutes.

The film demonstrates impressive technical prowess along the way, from the visual effects, to the direction within large amounts of water, and the sound design which often creates an effect of being submerged underwater. Some scenes are even reminiscent of James Cameron's Titanic. And the money shot of the approaching colossal wave is enough to make your heart pound out of your chest.

The Wave cuts back on any cheesy melodrama, it takes place in the now (instead of decades into the future), and it's steeped in treacherous realism--which all bodes well for a sudden catastrophe.


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