There’s an annoying tendency for Hollywood disaster movies to increasingly push the limits of realism and believability. The guiding principle is that bigger is better and the more devastation and destruction the more excitement there will be. Whether you agree with this or not is I guess a matter of opinion, but for me, at least, blockbusters have jumped the shark (sometimes literally). As soon as a film goes too far it risks losing its audience. I’ve seen major cities destroyed far too many times to actually care anymore. It loses the human focus and that’s an element where The Quake really thrives.
Three years ago, geologist Kristian Eikjord (Kristoffer Joner) was hailed as a hero following a rockslide in a Norwegian tourist destination. Today, he struggles to cope with the trauma of that day and is estranged from his wife (Ane Dahl Torp) and children (Jonas Hoff Oftebro and Edith Haagenrud-Sande). When Kristian discovers that a colleague has been killed following the collapse of a tunnel, he approaches the grieving daughter (Kathrine Thorborg Johansen) to investigate further. Only to come to a frightening conclusion.
Whilst The Quake shares many similarities with its predecessor The Wave, John Andreas Andersen’s film concentrates on the minutiae. Whilst the threat of earthquakes and devastation to the Norwegian capital is very real, The Quake directs its gaze on a troubled father trying to reconnect with his family. It works so well because of this focus and its willingness to set the events within confined parameters. It makes for a riveting and affecting action film with a distinctly personal feel.
The Quake is released on DVD and Digital by Signature Entertainment on 20 May.