The Quake: A Norwegian Disaster Movie

Filed in Film by on December 8, 2018 0 Comments

John Andersen’s Norwegian feature film, The Quake, revels in intimations of an imminent natural disaster. Exuding an expectant atmosphere, it leaves a viewer wondering when all hell will break loose.

The sequel to The Wave, which was released in 2015, The Quake opens in Canadian theatres on December 14. It unfolds in and around Norway’s capital, Oslo, which was last rocked by an earthquake in 1904. Kristian (Kristoffer Joner), the geologist who plucked his family to safety during a tsunami in northern Norway three years ago, is back again to warn colleagues and friends that an earthquake is about to wreak havoc on Oslo.

Kristoffer Joner

The movie’s ominous tone, buttressed by a dark and claustrophobic style of cinematography, is established in the first scene. During a television interview, a scientist is asked what the chances are of an earthquake rumbling through Oslo. His answer is laconic: “We can’t govern nature.”

Kristian, still traumatized by the tsunami that killed hundreds of people in his town, is acutely aware that Norwegians can’t afford to be complacent because they live in an active earthquake zone. His fears are accentuated when falling rocks kill two drivers, including a friend, in an Oslo tunnel.

Kristian’s colleague downplays the possibility that Oslo is in the crosshairs of a looming earthquake, but Kristian is convinced that danger lies ahead. He discusses this with his estranged wife, Idun (Ane Dahl Torp), but berates himself for being such a pessimist.

Andersen throws in broad hints that something is afoot. Rats inside the tunnel are dying from gas leaks, and a school play is disrupted by heart-pounding rumblings.

Utterly certain that a catastrophe is around the corner, Kristian texts his son, urging him And his girlfriend to leave a lecture at a university building, and rushes to a skyscraper to try to rescue Idun and their young daughter, Julia.

Inevitably, the dreaded earthquake strikes Oslo, reducing buildings to rubble and black smoke.

An earthquake strikes Oslo

Aftershocks cause still more problems. As Kristian and Idun try to extricate themselves from an elevator shaft in a severely damaged building, Julia and an older woman fight for their lives in another part of it.

Andersen directs these tingling scenes with a deft hand, and the cast is up to the challenge.

Like The Wave, The Quake is a workmanlike film brimming with thrills and chills.

 

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