Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Wave

(Bølgen, Norway, 2015)

How about that? A Norwegian catastrophe film! It’s not just Jerry Bruckheimer anymore. And though it does not have the epic, world-destroying scope of most American catastrophes, I think it is all the better for that. And it’s based on reality! What a concept. It not only could really happen, it will really happen. It’s just a matter of time.
In a Norwegian county called Møre og Romsdal there is something called the Åkerneset crevasse. This is a crack in a steep mountainside that, one day, will slip into the fjord below and create a 250-foot wave (not properly called a tsunami) that will thunder down the fjord and wipe out everything in its path. The Norwegians know this, and they have instruments in the crevasse that can detect an expansion of the gap of only a millimeter, and they have crews that monitor it all the time. They expect to have a little time to order an evacuation of the small towns in the wave’s path, but once the massive rock face slides the people down-fjord will have ten minutes to get to higher ground. Much higher ground. And there is only one road.
Much of the plot is pretty standard. A geologist who everyone thinks worries too much, some human error, some technical glitches, and suddenly it’s sliding and man, are we fucked! But from there it turned out to be not exactly what I expected. The hero’s family is in jeopardy, but it comes out okay for them. But many other people died who I didn’t expect to die. The action during the wave and in the aftermath is really edge-of-your seat stuff, very well done. The special effects are up to Hollywood standards. All in all, I’d call this a superior entry in a pretty tired old genre.