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European films

The Quake film review: after The Wave, Norwegian disaster movie sequel turns to an epic earthquake

  • Big-budget disaster movie blends thrills with emotionally grounded story about family and fear
  • It’s a masterclass in slow-burn tension
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2018, 7:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2018, 7:01am

4/5 stars

Lightning may never strike twice, but Norwegian geologist Kristian Eikjord (played by Kristoffer Joner) and his family are not so lucky. Just three years after surviving a deadly tsunami in the 2015 hit The Wave , the characters find themselves at the epicentre of a huge earthquake that threatens to destroy Oslo.

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Blending big-budget disaster-movie thrills with an emotionally grounded story about family and fear, The Quake proves every bit as gripping and visually spectacular as its predecessor, leaving recent Hollywood efforts such as San Andreas or Geostorm dangling in the wind.

Proclaimed a national hero after his efforts three years ago, Eikjord has struggled to put his life back on track. His family has suffered from the emotional aftershocks of The Wave, and he now lives alone in Geiranger, while his wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp) and two children have relocated to the big city.

He has even ignored persistent pleas for help from a former colleague, until his death is reported on the news and Eikjord is compelled to investigate. He soon discovers that a tunnel collapse outside Oslo was not caused by construction work, but rather a tremor that signals an imminent, far more destructive quake to come.

Roag Uthaug followed up the success of The Wave by directing the recent Alicia Vikander reboot of Tomb Raider , leaving acclaimed cinematographer John Andreas Andersen (Headhunters) to take over directorial duties here.

What follows is a masterclass in slow-burn tension and character-focused drama as returning scriptwriters John Kåre Raake and Harald Rosenløw-Eeg carefully lay out the shifting family dynamics before the world literally falls out from under their feet.

Loved ones again find themselves in peril, bullheaded authority figures refuse to heed Eikjord’s warnings in time, and Oslo itself – in all its glassy glory – succumbs spectacularly in effects sequences to rival anything from Irving Allen or Roland Emmerich.

By turns toe-curling and heart-stopping, The Quake delivers earth-shaking entertainment from the top floor.

The Quake opens on November 1

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