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film review

The wave hits fiercely and with an emotional realism not usually portrayed in big-screen catastrophes.

There's a hint of Jaws at the outset of The Wave, a subtitled Norwegian disaster drama in which a conscientious geologist wants to warn mountain-town residents and visitors about a possible rock slide and tsunami, but he's told not to create a panic during tourist season.

And just as the bite-y great white of Jaws was no ordinary shark, "the wave" in this tense Nordic thriller is much more than a pesky ripple.

The action is slow in coming – 45 minutes into the film – but when it arrives it hits fiercely and with an emotional realism not usually portrayed in big-screen catastrophes. The actors are believable at being terror-struck, reacting with heroism and hysteria in varying degrees.

A family is separated in the dark and watery apocalyptic aftermath, resulting in a nerve-rattling quest for unification, with excellent scenes of human tenacity.

And while The Wave doesn't quite match the saga of, say, The Impossible from 2012, it's a film absolutely worth catching.