The Wave Screen 7 articles

The Wave


The Wave Poster
  • Submitted as Norway's foreign-language Oscar entry, but with its eye clearly on the multiplex, The Wave is a perfect imitation of American studio blockbusters—and that's exactly the problem. A slow-build first act promises more insightful characterization, but once the wave hits, everything that follows is submerged by the filmmakers' blatant bid for an international audience and the crowd-pleasing clichés the film emulates almost too well.

  • Sight & Sound: Nick Pinkerton
    August 05, 2016 | September 2016 Issue (pp. 92-93)

    Uthaug isn't a hack – not yet, at least, though he's been put on a forthcoming Tomb Raider reboot, so there's plenty of time. He juggles his parallel action with alacrity, and works in some moderately clever foreshadowing – a bit involving Idun tinkering with the sink at home is later echoed in her 11th-hour rescue. But there's little to distinguish The Wave beyond the novelty of its Nordic origins – no anarchic twinkle or, strange to say of a movie with a geologist hero, topographical alertness.

  • The Wave is less a conventional disaster movie than a movie that happens to be about a disaster, a small distinction that makes a world of difference when it comes time to care what happens to any of these people; this is one of the few films of its kind in which you're in no rush to see the full force of nature's wrath. It's all about the before and after, both of which prove more riveting than the 85-meter-high wave itself — not that it isn't a sight to behold.

  • The Wave may slightly disappoint viewers who just want to see what that tsunami would look like—the film’s effects are impressive, given that it didn’t cost $100 million-plus, but the wave itself does look distinctly digital, to the point where one almost expects it to turn into a team of horses à la The Lord Of The Rings. However, director Roar Uthaug, who presumably landed the job on the basis of his awesome name, expertly orchestrates the panic that ensues when the alarm goes off.

  • Big wave, tiny town. You could fit the premise of Roar Uthaug’s modest but effective disaster film The Wave into half a nutshell. The movie, too, is dexterous and economical, a lo-fi approximation of a Hollywood blockbuster—not a drop of CGI water is wasted.

  • The filmmakers (the script is by John Kare Raake and Harald Rosenlow Eeg) cook up the sort of unpleasantness that turns the better disaster pictures, like this one, into nail-biters.

  • The film fuses conventions of the genre — the most astonishing scenes are borrowed from the standard Hollywood model, then modified, the F/X creatively executed to achieve excellent results at far less expense — with a credible dramatized situation specific to the unique geography, culture, and mentality of a Norway that, almost overnight, has been transformed by the discovery of huge oil reserves from a relatively simple, socially progressive society to a newly rich bastion of capitalism.

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