You gotta respect how Norway isn’t afraid to submit big, pulpy crowd-pleasers like Joacham Trier’s 2017 psychic thriller Thelma or Roar Uthaug’s 2016 disaster epic The Wave to our Academy Awards. Those films didn’t actually get nominated, but it was still pretty baller of Norway to present them as the country’s best cinema for those years. John Andreas Andersen’s The Quake is a sequel to Uthaug’s The Wave, and it’s another competent piece of genre filmmaking. Three years later after the last disaster, the frazzled Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) remains a great geologist and a terrible husband to Idun (Ane Dahl Torp) and father to Sondre (Jonas Hoff Oftebro) and Julia (Edith Haagenrud-Sande).
When Kristian realizes a giant earthquake is about to strike Oslo, nobody listens to him because then there wouldn’t be a story. Among The Wave’s B-picture charms is that when the title calamity finally happens after an hour, the casting budget gets hit hardest: the population of Norway’s most populous city vanishes from the screen except for Kristian and his family, most of whom are again trapped in the same hotel as in The Wave. The Quake was not submitted to the Oscars, but for big dumb entertainment that has a veneer of respectability because it’s subtitled, it deserves your vote.
Rated PG-13. Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.