The Wave is a new Norwegian disaster movie that I caught on streaming video tonight. Story-wise, this is a pretty by-the-numbers disaster movie – lone geologist knows there’s a problem but nobody believes him and they can’t alert the town because it’s tourist season! What makes this movie good, besides the fact it’s actually a good version of a disaster movie, is that it’s set in a gorgeous Norwegian fjord and small town. Half of this movie is a tourism video that makes you want to visit these narrow inlets… and the other half ensures that you want to stay far away.
The disaster in question comes when a portion of the rocky mountains that line the fjord sheers away, collapsing into the water and creating a huge wave that swamps the town up to 80 meters. This is based on actual disasters in history where such waves do get that high (caused by the amount of rock sliding into relatively shallow inlets with high mountain walls – the water has nowhere to go except to build high and slam into the lowest points in the fjord).
It’s a pretty predictable if enjoyable localized disaster movie (it’s not a world-wide calamity and it doesn’t take place in NY, San Fran, or LA). The wave, when it hits, is impressively frightening, especially for what’s probably a fairly low budget film. It was a more effective visual than the stupidly large city-swamping waves in standard-issue Hollywood disaster movies.
Hey, if you like a pretty good disaster film that at least is unique (and gorgeous to look at) this is a pretty good and suspenseful one. Not turning the world on its head, but breathing a little life into a stale genre.