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Kristoffer Joner stars as Kristian in The Quake.Mongrel Media

The Quake (Skjelvet)

Directed by John Andreas Andersen

Written by John Kare Raake, Harald Rosenlow-Eeg

Starring Kristoffer Joner, Edith Haagenrud-Sande, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro

Classification 14A; 106 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars

Early in The Quake, a geologist cautions that we can’t live in fear and that we can’t give in to nature. “We are in the midst of it,” he says, stoically.

That’s hardly a catchy tag line or pithy comic quip for a disaster film. But, then, The Quake isn’t your standard catastrophe drama, even if it does leave viewers shaking in their boots. Directed by first-timer John Andreas Andersen, this tightrope-tense Norwegian thriller is the subtitled sequel to 2015’s The Wave, an excellent tsunami suspense feature worth catching.

Kristoffer Joner, who saved lives as the whistle-blowing geologist hero in The Wave, is back, but traumatized by the tragedy. So much so that he’s estranged from his family. The domestic situation adds an honest dose of humanity to a disaster genre that tends to favour special effects over poignancy. And let’s be clear, the skyscraper special effects, elevator-shaft cinematography and bone-shaking audio of this earthquake epic are first-rate.

Female characters are strong: In an Oslo falling apart, they keep it together. Director Andersen’s pacing is dynamic, allowing white-knuckled viewers to catch their breaths before he takes it away again. This isn’t a sequel, it’s an after-shock – and a doozy at that.

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Edith Haagenrud-Sande as Julia in The Quake.Mongrel Media

The Quake opens Dec. 14 in Toronto

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