DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT by Norwegian director
There are registered more than 300 unstable mountainsides in Norway. One of the largest is “Åkerneset.” It’s a system of cracks 800 meter long that keep expanding up to 15 cm per year. When, not if, it falls 7 million cubic meters of rock will crash into the fjord below, creating an 80-meter high tsunami that will hit the local community of Geiranger after just 10 minutes. It was the perfect starting point for the first ever-Scandinavian disaster movie.
With THE WAVE I wanted to bring a traditional Hollywood genre closer to home. Moving away from president’s speeches and megacity mayhem, I wanted to experience the destruction through a normal family and the small community they live in. Working from the thought that the closer you feel to the characters, the more impact the imposing disaster will have.
This choice also influenced our visual approach to the story, shooting most of the film in a handheld almost documentary style. I wanted the audience to feel like they were thrown into this world with our characters - running for their lives, gasping for breath.
And although we of course wanted to create spectacular action sequences through practical and visual effects, the biggest impact should always come from the emotions of the human drama.
Nestled in Norway's Sunnmøre region, Geiranger is one of the most spectacular tourist draws on the planet. With the mountain Åkerneset overlooking the village — and constantly threatening to collapse into the fjord — it is also a place where cataclysm could strike at any moment. After putting in several years at Geiranger's warning centre, geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) is moving on to a prestigious gig with an oil company. But the very day he's about to drive his family to their new life in the city, Kristian senses something isn't right. The substrata are shifting. No one wants to believe that this could be the big one, especially with tourist season at its peak, but when that mountain begins to crumble, every soul in Geiranger has ten minutes to get to high ground before a tsunami hits, consuming everything in its path.
Those ten minutes are some of the most nerve-rattling you'll experience in any movie this year, but as The Wave continues the stakes only get higher. Ace director Roar Uthaug keeps things hurtling forward in a state of high anxiety until the very end. Giving Hollywood a run for its money, the film's canvas is broad, its effects eerily realistic, and its scale immense. Here comes the flood.