The Wave (2015 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Roar Uthaug|
|Produced by||Are Heidenstorm|
|Music by||Magnus Beite|
|Cinematography||John Christian Rosenlund|
|Edited by||Christian Siebenherz|
|Distributed by||Nordisk Filmdistribusjon|
|Box office||$12.8 million|
The Wave (Norwegian: Bølgen) is a 2015 Norwegian disaster film directed by Roar Uthaug. It was Norway's official submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards but failed to be nominated. The movie depicts a future event in Møre og Romsdal in which the Åkerneset crevasse collapses, creating an avalanche resulting in an 80 meter tall tsunami that destroys everything in its path. A sequel titled The Quake (Norwegian: Skjelvet), directed by John Andreas Andersen, was released on 31 August 2018.
Kristian Eikjord (Joner), an experienced geologist is having his final day of duty in the famous Norwegian tourist destination Geiranger, and is scheduled to move to Stavanger with his family. After a small farewell feast with his colleagues at the Åkerneset monitoring station, sensors on the mountain indicate groundwater has disappeared. The team tells Kristian not to worry, they will check it out. Later, Kristian and his children are leaving while his wife Idun (Torp) works at the local hotel for a few more days. Waiting for the ferry, Kristian has an epiphany after observing surrounding events and rushes back to the geology center, leaving his children Sondre (Oftebro) and Julia (Sande) in the car. There, he convinces them the waters are having a profound effect on the crevasse. He heads up by helicopter with Jacob, where they find the instrument-connected wires have snapped. Kristian's former boss Arvid (Såheim) agrees to enter a higher state of alert, but refuses to press the evacuation alarm based on the current evidence.
Having done what he can, Kristian returns to his car, but finds the children were impatient and went to the hotel. There, he apologizes and Idun tells the children to sleep at the hotel for the night, but Julia wants to say goodbye to their house by spending one last night there. Kristian drives home with her to stay there one last time. Meanwhile, Sondre is bored in his hotel room and heads down to the basement with headphones to skate.
Instrument calculations indicate contraction changes in the crevasse, thus Arvid and Jacob head there to check the "C-pumps" (used to measure specific conditions), they find the readings are accurate and not a malfunction. Kristian reviews his old documents and finds contractions can be a sign of an upcoming avalanche, due to water pressure changing within the mountain. Kristian dials the station and orders his colleagues to evacuate Arvid and Jacob from the crevasse immediately and sound the outdoor warning alarms to alert the residents of Geiranger that there is an imminent threat of a tsunami. Moments later, the avalanche happens; Arvid decides to sacrifice himself, linking Jacob to their zip-line after his foot is trapped, falling to his death shortly after. As feared, the rockslide crashes into the fjord and creates a gigantic tsunami approximately 80 meters high roaring towards Geiranger.
With ten minutes on the countdown, Kristian rushes to Geiranger with Julia to pick up his wife and son, but Idun orders them to ascend to safety. She and her colleague Vibeke desperately attempt to evacuate the hotel patrons onto a waiting bus, but Sondre is no where to be found. Time is quickly running out, but Idun refuses to leave him. Two Danish tourists (Maria and Philip Poulsen) are following her on the search. Kristian and Julia are stuck in traffic trying to get up the mountain, and realizing their altitude is dangerously low, they start running uphill on foot, yelling for everyone else to do the same. During the rush, a man forgets to set the car's brake, causing it to roll backwards and trap Anna's leg (Kristian's former neighbor). Kristian sends Julia up the mountain with Thomas (Anna's husband) and Teresa, their daughter. With seconds until wave impact, Kristian seats himself and Anna in a van in a desperate attempt to survive. The tsunami engulfs the vehicle into a chaotic underwater maelstrom. Idun finds Sondre, but the tsunami approaches too quickly. Rushing back downstairs to the basement's bomb shelter, the wave strikes the hotel violently and washes Maria away, forcing Idun to close the shelter's door after convincing Philip that Maria is already dead.
Kristian realizes he miraculously survived the maelstrom, but finds Anna next to him dead, having been impaled by a large piece of debris. After Kristian finds Julia alive, he leaves her with Thomas and his daughter, while he heads back to Geiranger to find the rest of his family. The town has been wiped off the map, and he finds the evacuation bus, filled with dead passengers, including Vibeke. Realizing Idun and Sondre are not among them, he heads to the ruins of the hotel. Down in the bomb shelter, the water level rises and deforms the door, which is blocked by heavy debris. With the situation worsening, Philip panics and pushes Idun and Sondre underwater in a frenzied attempt to breathe. Unable to calm him down, Idun is forced to drown him.
Kristian finds his son's backpack in one of the rooms, and feeling hopeless, he furiously bangs some exposed pipes with a metal rod. The noises are heard by Idun and Sondre, who then respond in like. Kristian tracks the noise to the bomb shelter, but as he dives, further damage occurs to the hotel, causing water to flood where they are taking refuge. He removes the heavy debris and reunites with Idun, but as he returns with Sondre, he runs out of air (after giving some to his panicked son). Idun heads back for him and begins a desperate attempt to revive him. While it seems Kristian has drowned and Idun accepts his death, Sondre gives one last frantic effort at revival, which pays off. The family is reunited at Ørnesvingen, and the film closes saying the events are likely to occur in the future, but the exact date is a mystery.
- Kristoffer Joner as Kristian Eikjord, a 40-year old experienced geologist
- Ane Dahl Torp as Idun Eikjord, Kristian's wife
- Jonas Hoff Oftebro as Sondre Eikjord, Kristian's son
- Edith Haagenrud-Sande as Julia Eikjord, Kristian's daughter
- Thomas Bo Larsen as Phillip Poulsen, a Danish tourist
- Mette Horn as Maria Poulsen
- Fridtjov Såheim as Arvid Øvrebø, Kristian's former boss
- Herman Bernhoft as Georg
- Arthur Berning as Jacob Vikra
- Silje Breivik as Anna, one of Eikjord's neighbours
- Laila Goody as Margot Valldal, Arvid's assistant
- Eili Harboe as Vibeke, Idun's hotel colleague
Norway is a rockslide prone area (created by the Caledonian orogeny) and The Wave is based on a rock-slide tsunami incident which destroyed the village of Tafjord on 7 April 1934, killing 40 people. Prior to that, a similar incident in 1905 triggered a tsunami killing 60 people, and 31 years later, another 74 lost their lives. Uthaug has always been a fan of Hollywood disaster films such as Twister and Armageddon and had long wanted to make a disaster film in Norway. According to him the challenge was to combine the elements of the American genre film with the reality of the situation in Norway.
All the actors performed their own stunts, something the director said was "utterly nerve-racking." And for a climatic scene, in which Joner tries to rescue his family from a flooded hotel, he trained with free-diving instructors to be able to hold his breath for three minutes underwater.
Awards and accolades
At the 2016 Amanda Awards, The Wave received the award for Best Norwegian Film in Theatrical Release, as well as the awards for Best Sound Design and Best Visual Effects. In addition, the film was also nominated in the categories of Best Norwegian Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Music.
The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise aimed at the performances of the cast (mostly the two protagonists), cinematography, score and visual effects. Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "an exotic edge-of-seater [that] plays on the beauty and terror of nature" and "a thrilling ride", while chief international film critic Peter Debruge of Variety described it as "an equally impressive tsunami-peril thriller."
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 82% "Certified Fresh" score based on 102 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's consensus states: "Well-acted and blessed with a refreshingly humanistic focus, The Wave is a disaster film that makes uncommonly smart use of disaster film clichés." Metacritic reports a 68 out of 100 rating based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The special effects were lauded by critics, receiving favorable comparison with those of Hollywood. Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter called them "convincingly terrifying and involving." Collider reviewed, "...a major technical achievement that will hopefully make Hollywood reconsider the tendency to go bigger and bigger to the point of excess."
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- List of Norwegian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
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