Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Wave (2015)

Norway's entry for this year's Oscars was THE WAVE a Hollywood style disaster movie based on two incidents which occurred over the last century in Norway about rock slide triggering Tsunamis. Once it gets going it outdoes most of Hollywood's recent offerings

The simple plot has a geologist  finalizing plans to leave his home in one of the fjords to go work for a big oil company. As he prepares to gets ready with his family he sees signs that things aren't right and that the side of one of the mountains is about to let go, Delaying his exit he begins to investigate but when all hell breaks loose he has little time to get his family to safety. As the world on screen goes wrong, everyone in the audience begins to sit bolt upright and move to the edge of their seats- this is what they've come for and it kicks serious butt.

The film goes from bland to awesome about 40 minutes in. From the point at which the geologists go into a crevasse to check on the motion of the rocks things go into overdrive. The 25 minutes that follow their descent on through the leaving of the wave are some of the hairiest moments put on film. Its an an amazing series of set pieces as people flee, some fail and some somehow survive.

If it isn't obvious this is not a film you're going to want to see on your iPhone or tablet. This truly is a big screen movie. It all looks amazing.

The film isn't perfect  and has a couple of flaws that kind of lessen the impact. First up is that the set up is much too bland. The characters and the situations are nothing special and while the film looks good there is little exciting to hold your attention for the first half hour or so.  While it works in that there is some investment in the characters, it makes it hard not to wish that the wave would just come and wipe the mediocre stuff away. But when it does, we are so much happier for it.

The other problem is that outside of films set pieces- the 25 minute center section where the wave comes  and the concluding one where the geologist tries to find his wife and son who are trapped in a hotel, the film is weirdly by rote. We've seen all of the non-action stuff before. On the other hand the set pieces set a new standard in action cinema.

I like THE WAVE a great deal, I love sequences in it but for the most part I really like it overall. Reservations aside I highly recommend it especially if you can see it on a big screen with big sound.

The film hits theaters and VOD platforms Friday (Go for a theater viewing)

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