Whilst there’s an ongoing debate, which has become particularly pertinent this year, about the importance of seeing a film ‘on the big screen’, there’s a certain genre of films which undoubtedly benefits from that environment. Disaster movies are usually pretty dumb, especially ones made in Hollywood, but there’s an unlikely new player. Norway is building up a reputation for both thrilling and intelligent blockbusters (The Quake, The Wave) and The Tunnel is another impressive addition.
After the death of his wife, Stein (Thorbjørn Harr) has done his best to move on. However, his daughter Elise (Ylva Fuglerud) is not happy that he’s in a relationship with Ingrid (Lisa Carlehed). It’s Christmas Eve and he wants them to be together as a family, but she’s having none of it. After an accident in a tunnel during a blizzard, the firefighter is called back into work to help with the rescue. Including that of the upset teenager.
The Tunnel works so well because it is prepared to operate within its limitations. Using the Norwegian winter as an atmospheric backdrop, Pål Øie takes advantage of the natural environment and the claustrophobic situation to build up tension. By focusing on character as well as set-pieces, we can actually root for these people. There’s an investment you often don’t find in major action films. The Tunnel is a winning mix of family drama and entertaining thrills.
The Tunnel is released on Digital HD by Signature Entertainment on 21 September.