Wave, The (Die Welle) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/09/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Superbly directed and sharply written, this is a gripping thriller that comes complete with its own "Could it happen here?" debate.

What's it all about?
A huge hit in its native country, The Wave is loosely based on true events (although they happened in California, not Germany) and stars Jurgen Vogel as hip, leather-jacketed teacher Mr Wenger, who's annoyed when he's assigned autocracy instead of anarchy during School Political Project Week. However, he quickly gets fired up when his class argue over whether or not a dictatorship could still happen in modern day Germany, leading him to encourage his students to form their own political movement.

Needless to say, their movement (dubbed 'The Wave'), with its accompanying white shirt uniform and slogan of 'Discipline through Strength' proves surprisingly popular and soon the whole school is getting in on the act. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that some students are taking The Wave far more seriously than others, with disastrous results.

The Good
Vogel is excellent in the lead and there's superb support from Jennifer Ulrich and Max Riemelt as two of the more prominent students. Director Dennis Gansel maintains a terrific pace throughout (it takes place over the course of a week) and it's incredibly suspenseful in places – the final "rally" sequence, in particular, is genuinely chilling.

The script is excellent, allowing the audience to actually understand the appeal of the movement and ensuring that the various stages of escalation are entirely believable. The sense of inclusion offered by The Wave is also brilliantly handled, such as in the scene where a reluctant, doodling student is encouraged to use his drawing skills to design a logo.

The Bad
That's not to say it's without its flaws, however – for example, one of the students is seriously unhinged and Wenger either ignores or doesn't notice his behaviour. It's just about possible to blame his dismissal on Wenger's vanity, but it still strikes a wrong note.

Worth seeing?
The Wave is a superbly directed, thought-provoking and thoroughly gripping thriller that will doubtless become a huge hit with politics teachers everywhere. Highly recommended.

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Wave, The (Die Welle) (15)
Wave, The (Die Welle) has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 17/12/2017 13:59

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