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The Wave 

Wednesday, Mar 2 2016
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There's something downright charming about the fact that Norway chose Roar Uthaug's disaster film The Wave as its official submission to this year's Academy Awards. Not only is it a genre the Academy pretends doesn't exist beyond the occasional technical award — such as Armageddon's nomination for Best Sound Editing in '98 — but it doesn't have an original idea in its admittedly pretty head, either. Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) is a good geologist and terrible father studying seismic shifts in fjords; nobody listens to him when he realizes that a particular mountain is about to collapse, one of his fellow geologists even objecting to cutting tourist season short, as though he were the mayor of a New England summer resort town. Kristian is of course right, and when shit goes down he's separated from his wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp) and his son Sondre (Jonas Hoff Oftebro), who are trapped in the hotel where Idun works. The special effects and scenes of destruction are top-notch, and the film even has a neat twist in Idun being more competent and heroic than her husband. But in the end, The Wave wants only to be big, dumb, Hollywood-style entertainment. On that level, it succeeds — even if a disaster movie cliché drinking game would lead to alcohol poisoning. (You have been warned.)

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Sherilyn Connelly

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