Roar Uthaug was an established director in Norway when he flooded Norwegian cinemas with The Wave in 2015. Now the sequel is here, in which director John Andreas Andersen takes the disaster to Oslo.
The Wave was Norway’s first proper disaster film and pulled a huge crowd to cinemas, with more than 800.000 tickets sold. That’s about 17% of the population, making the film the 4th most seen movie in Norway ever. A sequel was thus soon planned, although Roar Uthaug was given the job of directing the new Tomb Raider movie. Sequels are by no means a given in Norway, but the film also received great reviews and sales around the world. The writers have now moved from Norway’s beautiful west coast to its capital city, Oslo, where The Quake (original title: Skjelvet) is set. The original script was written by Harald Rosenløw Eeg and John Kåre Raake and is inspired by the historical quake in Oslo in 1904, when a 5.4 Richter earthquake shook the city, fortunately without any deaths. The epicenter was only 150 km south of the city itself, at the mouth of the Oslo fjord. There are still minor earthquakes happening in this area today. Geologists and seismologists predict that a major earthquake could happen in Oslo every 100 years. Now it is 114 years since last time…
The idea for The Quake came back in 2015 when producer Martin Sundland found an article written by a senior researcher at Norsar, the Norwegian Seismic Array that was established in 1968 as part of the Norwegian-US agreement for the detection of earthquakes and nuclear explosions. The article went into detail about the Oslo quake on October 23rd, 1904, but the trigger was really that the quake could happen again. -I’ve always loved disaster movies. They’re emotional and have the most dramatic scenes. [But, we have not made many of them before because] I honestly think part of it has to do with courage. Norwegians are a little too quick to say this will never work, we’re not good enough, Sundland sand to Visit Oslo. That has changed in recent years, with a number of special effects films having been released.
Making a disaster movie in Norway and in Oslo is also a bit different that in many other countries, because the nature is very close to the population, even in the most urban areas. Co-writer Harald Rosenløw Eeg pointed out Oslo’s closeness with mother nature: -We like to think we live in this urban centre, but the forests are only a five minute metro ride away, and the fjord is right there. We think we’re so far away from nature, but it’s dangerously close, he said to Visit Oslo.
The Quake‘s first screening was at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund on August 19th. -We are wild about being able to open this year’s festival with The Quake! Like its predecessor, it has become a spectacular and nerve-racking film, and it is also a very powerful human drama. We are proud to be the first to screen this film and we are sure it will shake up audiences both in Haugesund and the rest of Norway, festival director Tonje Hardersen said.
The Quake is directed by John Andreas Andersen, one of Norway’s most distinguished cinematographers, whose previous directorial duties include Occupied and co-direction of Uno. He shot his new film in Oslo last autumn, and scenes were also shot in Geiranger on the west coast and in Prague. So far it appears he did a good job; the hype is clearly visible and reviews in major media are generally favourable, with the film having earned a 5 of 6 rating in at least 9 major newspapers and magazines, of which some are.
- Dagbladet: “In a genre more and more dominated by glossy effects and greenscreens, The Quake has got something tactile and truthful and dusty that reduce is distance to the viewers. Sooner or later you will grab your chair!” Rated 5 of 6.
- NRK P3: “This is a brave effort from the producers, because the potential fall is long when you get involved in a genre movie where you compete with Hollywood. We can only conclude that the makers has succeeded, because this is solid good entertainment with an effective story, engaging acting and incredible effects both in the sound and image departments. The Quake delivers, no doubt!” Rated 5 of 6.
- KK: “From the first second you get a feeling of something bad going down, and your heart rate going up. You know things are going to happen, and it is not nice […] [Certain scenes] no doubt beats more expensive Hollywood disaster movies, and it is so real that I just want to leave the cinema.” Rated 5 of 6.
VG, Dagbladet, Stavanger Aftenblad, Bergens Tidende, Bergensavisen and Dagsavisen also awarded the film 5 of 6 on the Norwegian playing dice scale.
The film includes special effects that previously only were available to American megabudget movies, but digital and practical effects of all types and qualities are now available to Norwegian directors. One scene the critics were impressed by was possibly the one which took five weeks to build the sets for, cost 600.000 euros, weighed 60 tons and took 130 crew members to prepare and operate. When the shot was finished, one end of the rig was 18 meters above the ground. People who said the scene could not be done were simply not included in the team, and other yes-minded people were found. -If they could do this for Transformers 3, we could do it too, Sundland said to NRK. He claims some scenes and effects are completely new in the history of Norwegian films. The nature of the effects resulted in a broken leg for star Kristoffer Joner (who also has a minor role in Mission Impossible: Fallout this summer). He was on sick leave for months to properly mend his leg. -It’s what happens when you get old, he commented.
The Quake has been sold to a large number of countries, although no foreign release dates have been announced yet: Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan; Turkey, India, USA, Poland, former Yugoslavia, Spain, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, German-speaking territories, Latin America, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Middle East, Gulf, and South Korea.
The 5.3 million euro disaster movie (of which 1.5 million came from the Norwegian Film Institute) was produced by Martin Sundland and Are Heidenstrøm. It runs for 105 minutes and stars Ane Dahl Torp, Kristoffer Joner, Hang Tran, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, Katherine Thorborg Johansen, Edith Haagenrud-Sande, and Ravdeep Singh Bajwa. It’s Norwegian premiere is on August 31, 2018 in cinemas across the country.
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