Who knew fjords could be so dangerous?

If you’re looking for an entertaining movie on Netflix, my wife and I just watched Bølgen (The Wave) — it looks like the Norwegians (it’s subtitled) took the standard American disaster movie, stripped out the egregious stupidity and the exaggerated catastrophes, and made a good thriller about a realistic and major problem. It seems some of those scenic, steep-sided fjords have occasional gigantic rockfalls that can cause tsunami-like walls of water to go rushing down, destroying everything in their path. No volcanoes erupting in LA, no comets plummeting towards earth, no colossal earthquake that splits the planet in half…just a terrifying local danger and people trying to cope.


  1. taraskan says

    Nowegian cinema often apes American blockbusters. Any reduction in scale is not due to better writing or tighter focus – it’s just a smaller budget. They’re honestly not much better than American blockbusters. Ragnarok (2013), Kraftidioten (2014), Max Manus (2008), are all in this style and it is unsatisfying to me.

    One case where it works is Hodejegerne (2011) “Headhunters”, based on a Nesbø novel. That one’s fairly enjoyable. And Kraftidioten isn’t badly made, with enough comedy to get you through it, kind of like a lesser Tarantino script like True Romance. If you do explore Norwegian action flicks further I’d recommend those two.

    Trolljegeren (2010) is still my favorite offering from Norway, and the only found footage film I’ve ever liked.

  2. says

    My wife and I saw it at the local classic theater, and liked it very much. I loved the parts about the rock monitoring, the public warning system, and how most people but not everyone responded very well when the sirens went off. One or two scenes were… improbable but it’s very enjoyable.

  3. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The Wave was fairly enjoyable, though there were some issues with held breath & resuscitation that went beyond the believable for me. I guess I’m with georgewiman on my impression of The Wave.

    But I’m also very much with taraskan on Trolljegeren & found footage movies. I liked that one. Haven’t liked any others. Didn’t actually watch many others. The genre just has always underwhelmed me.

  4. says

    Oh, shit, yes. Back in 2008 I visited an artist friend up in Balestrand, Norway, who lives at the end of this beautiful fjord. We hiked up to the hydro station for the view, and I could see this huge rock region on the other side of the fjord that was clearly cracking away from the edge of the mountain. And I asked him, “do rocks fall into the fjord much?” He said “no, it seldom happens, but when it does it’s very exciting.” Of course I bit, “what do you mean by exciting?” He said: “everybody dies.”

  5. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    What is the “end” of a fjord?
    Is it the ocean bit or the pointy bit?

  6. says

    The end of the fjord is the pointy part, which is usually flat and silty and there’s a few small farms at the end of each of them. The mouth of the fjord faces out to the big cold deep water.

    I believe that the inner parts of the fjords get ridiculously deep, too.

    Fun fjord thing: you have to take ferries across them because driving around the edge takes all day in some cases. It can be a mile across but a 50 mile drive to go around. So, you take these beautiful, amazingly professionally-run ferries. Why drive all day when you can sit and have a sandwich and watch the ferry and get there faster?!

  7. says

    Oh yeah, there are little roads along the side, sometimes, that have huge armored pipes over them in spots where the snow sometimes slides down. Apparently if you’re in the wrong place when that happens, the snow takes you down to view the bottom of the fjord.

  8. grasshopper says

    A moose once bit my sister…
    No realli! She was Karving her initials on the moose with the sharpened end
    of an interspace toothbrush given her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an
    Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian movies: “The Hot Hands of an Oslo
    Dentist”, “Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Molars of Horst Nordfink”…

    And we can thank Slartibartfast for the fiddly bits.

  9. CHARLES says

    Lituya Bay has been mentioned but another, similar, event was the Vajont Dam disaster in Italy where about 2,000 people lost their lives and 5 villages were entirely destroyed.

    Similar was the inundation of large portions of Scotland, England and “Doggerland” by the collapse of the Storegga, part of the continental shelf of Norway.

  10. bhebing says

    If you really want to watch this movie, could it be said that you are, as it were…

    Pining for the fjords?

  11. unclefrogy says

    well I might have to watch that movie. I have enjoyed many Scandinavian TV detective/crime shows when The MHZ network would broadcast them over the air out here in LA but they stopped doing that here and are only available on-line and I have not subscribed yet. Some of the programs were very good indeed and thankfully not dubbed but always subtitled.
    Thanks for the link to damn interesting Jim in the “old days” before I found my way here I read them often but was very turned off by the comments which they had at the time always ended up dominated by true believers in the one true god. Then they kind of imploded for a while I guess they came back and no comments.

    living near the coast in earthquake country gives me an extra degree of interest in stories of events like this.
    uncle frogy

  12. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Who knew fjords could be so dangerous?

    Anyone who bought the Pjinto?