Sunday, 13 December 2015

REVIEW - THE WAVE (ROAR UTHAUG)


The Wave is all promise, and all payoff! And all a trifle inconsequential - it's a disaster movie that's strictly about the disaster, exploring its historic, scientific, human and even economic effect with such dedication that, once the disaster event has actually taken place, it rather dribbles to a halt. The set-up is, at first, cloyingly familiar, trading in tropes that are entirely excusable as tropes - their tension-building qualities the subject of no dispute - but that needn't be so blatant in their blatancy. The character writing resembles that of American TV movies of the 1990s; it wouldn't be of much concern were the stakes not so essentially set upon these characters, since just how disastrous is a natural disaster if we've no-one to care for caught up in it? Callous as that may seem, the writers evidently agree... they just can't elicit the required level of sympathy. So just enjoy that tension-building, in the suggestions that may be warning signs and may be not, in the scramble for solutions as the event horizon draws closer, in the desperate evacuation as the oncoming wave approaches, the danger increasing as the quality of the VFX decreases. Roar Uthaug stages the central sequence in The Wave with adequate aplomb - his purview is wide, the hysteria depicted from multiple perspectives, each with multiple obstacles to safety. It's not subtle, it's not bold, it's not innovative, but it is effective. For a moment, you do begin to care: hundreds of human lives are in imminent danger, and there's a primitive, unearned sense of sympathy that arises naturally from that.