When disaster strikes

The opening credits of The Wave (originally titled Bolgen) inform us that of the many mountain peaks in Norway, an estimated 300 of them are unstable, and it’s from that conceit that director Roar Uthaug has fashioned a latter-day disaster saga that shows Mother Nature at her nastiest.

A box-office smash in its native Norway, and graced with both spectacular scenery and dazzling CGI effects, Uthaug assuredly builds toward the big catastrophe (massive landslide followed by massive tsunami). Rest assured, it’s coming, it’s big, and it’s an awesome (and horrifying) sight – as well as the film’s pinnacle.

The human element is well represented, with Kristoffer Joner as Kristian, a geologist on his last day on the job, preparing to move with his family. But those plans are stalled when he detects the warning signs of impending disaster. Par for the course in this genre, his warnings go unheeded until … well, you know.

Jones, who resembles “Walking Dead” star Norman Reedus and has an appealing everyman quality, isn’t a fearless hero, just a husband and father trying to save his family against all odds. It’s impossible not to root for him. (In Danish with English subtitles)

The Wave opens Friday