The Reel Review
This sequel to 2015’s excellent Norwegian disaster thriller The Wave, picks up three years after a massive rockslide-generated tsunami destroyed the picturesque tourist haven of Geiranger. Our obsessed geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner), separated from his wife (Ane Dahl Torp) and kids who now live in Oslo, spends his PTSD-filled days staring at the walls of his messy apartment, which are covered in thumbtacks, yarn and pictures of those he couldn’t save from the deadly tsunami. When Kristian’s latest research indicates a massive earthquake is imminent in Oslo, of course no one believes him, and the whole trope-filled cycle from The Wave repeats itself.
Director John Andreas Andersen seamlessly picks up the story (written by the same team behind The Wave) from predecessor Roar Uthaug (who jumped to Hollywood to direct 2018’s Tomb Raider starring Alicia Vikander). But this character-driven saga takes a mind-numbing hour and ten minutes before the big quake finally happens. While that may be quick in the geological world, here in the entertainment world it is a tediously long time to endure dry geology research and hysterical warnings from our shell-shocked geologist. Once the big quake does obliterate Oslo, the film is actually quite impressive, with surprisingly realistic special effects and some extremely harrowing moments that will have you on the edge of your seat – because unlike the usual mindless Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson disaster flicks – you actually care about these more realistic and relatable characters. If only this film had more of those moments and had gotten to them a lot sooner… it could have been spectacular.
• An estimated one in every six Norwegians saw The Wave when it opened in theaters, making it Norway’s top box office film of 2015.
• Earthquakes in Oslo are rare. In 1904 a moderate, magnitude 5.4 quake shook the Norwegian capital. Quakes are more common along the western coast, where they have caused 10 tsunamis over the past 130 years. The deadliest, that killed 73 people in Geiranger in 1936, was the inspiration for The Wave.
• Ane Dahl Torp also stars in the Norwegian political thriller TV series Occupied (Okkupert), which was recently renewed for a third season.