‘The Wave is the most magnetic disaster flick in recent years’

Natalie Stendall.

Film reviewer for Mansfield and Ashfield Chads
Natalie Stendall. Film reviewer for Mansfield and Ashfield Chads

If you think all Hollywood disaster movies are starting to look the same, The Wave is for you.

It’s a Norwegian film with English subtitles but don’t let that put you off, The Wave is the most magnetic disaster flick to hit cinemas in recent years.

Its success comes in part from a compact story and tight focus. Rather than overwhelming audiences with immense scale and over the top destruction in the style of San Andreas or The Day After Tomorrow, The Wave’s rockslide disaster impacts upon a single town. We get to know the offending mountain in intimate detail via a group of geologists whose technical disputes give The Wave a sense of truth.

Director Roar Uthaug (of the forthcoming Tomb Raider film) nests The Wave in reality, opening with original cine reel footage of the Lodalen rockslide that killed 63 people in 1905 setting off a massive tsunami. Documentary footage claims there are another 300 unstable mountainsides in Norway today including The Wave’s Åkernes crevice. Can people be warned in time?

The film’s visual effects are spectacular, balancing claustrophobic climbs into the belly of the mountain with huge waves and chaotic debris. There are shades of The Impossible and Titanic in The Wave’s action sequences but Uthaug avoids the sham sentimentality of these predictable Hollywood blockbusters. An understated cast and an intimate, believable screenplay that focuses on a single down-to- earth family make The Wave a tense, heart thumping must see.

The Wave is showing at Broadway Nottingham until Thursday August 18, and is also available to rent online, the same time as it is in cinemas.