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article imageReview: ‘The Quake’ combines predictability with some added intensity Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Dec 16, 2018 in Entertainment
‘The Quake’ is a follow-up to the 2016 Norwegian disaster movie, in which the original whistleblower is once again sounding an alarm that falls on deaf ears.
Sequels in the disaster movie genre are infrequent since the same region being hit by a comparable catastrophe or the same person being caught in another calamity is a hard sell for audiences. Moreover, unrelated movies have enough trouble not duplicating each other’s pictures so the prospect of the same team trying to make two distinct films in this category is discouraging. With so many obstacles with which to contend, it’s not surprising so few filmmakers attempt a follow-up to even successful blockbusters. Nonetheless, Norwegian writers John Kåre Raake and Harald Rosenløw-Eeg have opted to put the protagonist from The Wave at the centre of another impending natural disaster in The Quake.
After the tsunami, Kristian’s (Kristoffer Joner) family went ahead with their plans to move to the city, but he stayed behind. Haunted by the lives he didn’t save that fateful day, Kristian spends his time alone in despair. In the meantime, one of Kristian’s former colleagues has been tracking smaller tremors for months, convinced they’re signs of a larger disaster. It’s been 100 years since Oslo experienced a massive earthquake, but many researchers believe another cataclysmic shift is imminent. Yet, no one heeds their warnings and the city is caught off-guard when the quake hits, destroying buildings and trapping Kristian’s family at the top of a skyscraper.
Once again based on a real possibility, this film is more fantastical than its predecessor and reminiscent of Dwayne Johnson’s San Andreas in which he also attempts to save his family from a collapsing building. Kristian makes remarkable leaps, swings from unstable tethers and risks falling dozens of stories to his death, all while the building shakes and crumbles beneath him. Consequently, this movie’s melodramatic action is in line with its counterparts, but simultaneously fails to differentiate itself from them.
The evidence of the impending disaster isn’t as compelling as it was previously so the first half of the picture consists of lacklustre phone calls, computer graphs and failed efforts by Kristian to reconnect with his family. Once the massive tremor moves through Oslo, everyone scrambles to react to the dangers it creates. The most gripping scenes take place in an elevator shaft in which the main characters are trapped and injured. Bathed in red light, the urgency of the scenes is intensified. Conversely, due to some unknown floor material, the upper level of the building on which others are stuck is like a deadly slide threatening to toss careless victims over the edge.
Another young woman, Marit (Kathrine Thorborg Johansen), joins the main cast of characters, risking her life for utter strangers. The family resumes their roles competently, though the son (Jonas Hoff Oftebro) has little more than a cameo in the picture while Kristian’s young daughter (Edith Haagenrud-Sande) is entrenched in the film’s action. Nonetheless and somewhat expectedly, this film doesn’t measure up to its predecessor, but still passes for a popcorn action blockbuster.
Director: John Andreas Andersen
Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp and Kathrine Thorborg Johansen
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