I bet you haven’t seen any Norwegian natural disaster movies, and if you have, well, this one will also be great. Actually, this is the first Swedish, they’re not Swedish Mac, they’re Norwegian, so Norwegian disaster movie, directed by Roar Uthaug (Fritt Vilt, Tomb Raider (yeah, they’re rebooting it)). It’s so strange to watch this subgenre without an American director or actors. This is a different take on the genre, although it follows well-established routes when it comes to story and characters. I mean, you would have to be quite inventive to come up with something else than a family trying to make it through a natural disaster. It’s as natural as drinking Tran. Do not think that this is some cheap TV movie that they improvised while drinking beer and jumping from fjords, this is a full-blown blockbuster with awesome special effects.
The unbelievable beauty of the land actually makes it more realistic because you are already in that mood where anything might happen. Foreign movies are also always a good opportunity to see how other people are living, what are they doing for fun and in which ways are they different from us, wherever we me be. The science behind studies that are trying to figure out when exactly the disaster will happen was also quite interesting. Who would thought that geology could be fun? It also puts focus on the right people and not some muscular randoms who end up saving the world. It’s the scientist who are the heroes here along with the ordinary people.
Geiranger is a small Norwegian village situated on top of a mountain that has a history of rock slides. They then create tsunamis that devastate the surrounding areas. As the local geologist tries to warn his superiors that something odd is happening, the rest of the village doesn’t suspect a thing. Not even his wife and kids, who are also in an extremely dangerous area…
As you might have suspected, the characters are well developed with good background stories and plausible explanations about their actions. So there are no strange story-shifts where a character does something just to make a setup for the next scene. This doesn’t mean that the cliches are absent, they are here alright, it’s just the story and the atmosphere makes you forget about them. The entire affair seems almost too real, creating a very intense and nerve-wracking atmosphere that will last ’till the end of the movie. The only problem is a bit sluggish tempo, but you can use that time to ponder about nature and how the hell we managed to survive as a species so far. With huge disaster disappointments this year, yes San Andreas I am looking at you, Bolgen will be entertaining viewing. It brings almost nothing new to the genre when it comes to the story and characters, but the change in scenery is a welcome gimmick.
And in case you were wondering, yes, The Wave is based on true events or should I say future true events. The mountain is constantly moving and you can hear crackling constantly so it’s just a matter of time when it will break open and cause a disaster. Three years after we witness The Wave, we had the opportunity to witness The Quake or Skjelvet, a sequel to this very successful Norwegian movie. It’s also based on plausible events that could happen in the near future, so if you’re in a mood for more disaster movies, you should check it out.
Director: Roar Uthaug
Writers: John Kåre Raake, Harald Rosenløw-Eeg
Cast: Kristoffer Joner, Thomas Bo Larsen, Ane Dahl Torp, Fridtjov Såheim, Lado Hadzic, Herman Bernhoft
Fun Facts: Norway has about 5 mill. inhabitants and Bølgen sold 832,649 admissions, therefore about every 6th Norwegian saw it in a cinema.