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Dustin Putman

The Wave  (2016)
2½ Stars
Directed by Roar Uthaug.
Cast: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, Edith Haagenrud-Sande, Fridtjov Såheim, Laila Goody, Arthur Berning, Herman Bernhoft, Eili Harboe, Silje Breivik, Håkon Moe, Tyra Holmen, Thomas Bo Larson, Mette Agnete Horn.
2016 – 105 minutes
Rated: Rated R (for some language and disaster images).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman for, June 16, 2016.
Scandinavian action-drama "The Wave" stands as solid proof Hollywood isn't the only place where a good, old-fashioned disaster flick gets produced. Director Roar Uthaug and screenwriters Harald Rosenløw-Eeg and John Kåre Raake (2014's "Ragnarok") touch upon most of the formulaic chestnuts of the subgenre—the skeptic who does not listen to the hero's warning; the close calls; the clumsy bystanders who need help as the threat approaches; the race against time to save family members from imminent doom; the supporting character who loses his or her cool and falls victim in quick succession—but theirs is an appropriately tense and involving entry all the same.

It's moving day for geologist Kristian Eikjord (Kristoffer Joner) and his family, but he cannot shake the unsettling feeling danger is headed toward the idyllic Norwegian fjord of Geiranger. A day earlier, the station where he worked captured unstable readings at the Åkneset mountain pass. Not wanting to disturb tourist season, boss Arvid (Fridtjov Såheim) assured him there was nothing to worry about. He's not so sure. With hotel receptionist wife Inud (Ane Dahl Torp) working her final shift across town and teenage son Sondre (Jonas Hoff Oftebro) staying in one of the rooms, Kristian must find a way to protect daughter Julia (Edith Haagenrud-Sande) and reach the rest of his loved ones as a devastating rockslide creates a massive tsunami headed right for them.

There are few surprises in "The Wave," but plenty of sticky situations devised for its characters. Guessing how they will escape while marveling at the amount of suspense director Roar Uthaug orchestrates is all part of the appeal. Are the leads likable and root-worthy? Check. Are the special effects convincing? Check. Is the plot cut-and-dry (and frequently ridiculous)? Check and check. Not terribly unlike 2015's Dwayne Johnson-led "San Andreas," "The Wave" will be a can't-miss proposition for disaster-movie buffs and a lighter but still hearty recommendation for anyone else willing to shut their brains off and go with the 278-ft.-high flow.
© 2016 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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