The Wave Movie Review
Do you know what the leading cause of death for Norwegians is? Rock slides. Or to be more specific, tsunamis caused by rock slides. Look it up. It’s real. Or something. The Wave, the new disaster thriller about Norwegians dying in a Norwegian fjord after a huge rockslide causes an 80-meter Norwegian wave to decimate a quaint Norwegian town, is here, and it’s everything you want it to be.
First, Norwegian fjords are death traps. They’re beautiful and serene and peaceful, but really they’re just nature’s way to lure you into a false sense of serenity. Fjords are essentially cliffs and water. Only bad things can happen.
And bad things do happen to the Norwegians in this movie. Which means good things happen to us, the audience, because The Wave is a surprisingly good movie.
Though limited by the standard disaster format--a lot of foreshadowing, one big escape sequence and a climax in which the main character has to rescue his family from certain death--The Wave is an engaging and tense thriller that, understandably, gets better as the story progresses. Shot on a $6 million budget, the movie keeps pace with its Hollywood brethren, even if director Roar “Yes, I Have an Awesome Norwegian Name” Uthaug has to use visual effects sparingly.
The first hour is primarily devoted to establishing the Norwegians who may or may not die later on; while Uthaug could have cut 10 minutes to speed things along, The Wave works well enough as is by introducing a set of likable and interesting characters and making us care for their survival... or at least a glorious Norwegian death.
Naturally, once the rocks slide and the wave rises and you know all those poor Norwegians are going to die in a very non-glorious way, The Wave kicks into high gear and doesn’t let up until the end credits. The sparse visual effects are solid, the disaster sequence is gripping (of course, due to the budget, we don’t get to experience a ton of money shots) and the climax, while formulaic, is well executed.
The Wave isn’t groundbreaking in any way or form, but it’s a refreshingly simple and more grounded disaster movie that will satisfy most fans, as long as you can handle seeing poor Norwegians meet their Norwegian fate.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.