The Wave (2011)
Critics Consensus: Based on a true story, though relocated to Germany, this thought provoking film has an interesting premise, but suffers through a lack of believability.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Germany today. During a project week, high school teacher Rainer Wenger (Jurgen Vogel) comes up with an experiment in order to explain to his students how totalitarian governments work. A role-playing game with tragic results begins. Within a few days, what began as harmless notions, like discipline and community, builds into a real movement: The Wave. By the third day, the students start ostracizing and threatening others. When the conflict finally erupts into violence at an intramural water polo game, the teacher decides to break off the experiment. But it's too late. The Wave is out of control... -- (C) IFC … More
as Rainer Wenger
as Anke Wenger
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Further Reading: Making Waves as Die Welle Arrives
– Rotten Tomatoes
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Critic Reviews for The Wave
The inclusion of an engrossing (yet expected) finale ensures that The Wave ends on an exceedingly positive note...
The Wave is top-heavy and light-footed, racing its winning idea-that fascism can still be attractive to some, even in modern Germany-past itself.
The Wave forces a confrontation with the seductive potential in all of us to abuse and be abused by the exercise of singular power in the name of good.
Brilliantly written and directed, wonderfully performed by an ensemble cast, and haunting in its intensity
A seductive, button-nudging probe of pack-frenzy mentality. Some credibility's lost in the rush to combustion point, but the brawny direction and convincing cast make this a gripping cautionary tale.
Nevertheless, as a disturbing indictment of the course that could be taken by disaffected youth, The Wave makes a big splash.
As it bounds along with its pumping rock playlist, you start to realise that the movie is predictable and slightly scared, and that it doesn't really make sense.
Here is the winner of this week's No Shit Sherlock award: a prime example of the kind of film dead set on telling you what you know already.
It's an interesting and provocative idea somewhat marred by wretched performances from several of the kids and the same whiff of sanctimony and naivety that made The Edukators, another tiresomely right-on film from Germany, such a trial.
An intriguing premise, well performed by the actors and engagingly directed by Gansel, suffers from a script that tries to pack too much into a single week and an ending that feels forced and didactic.
Still, the quicksilver editing and thumping score mean it's zippily put together, and an undeniable willingness to engage with a youthful audience is admirably inclusive.
The film is persuasive that fascism can take root in any environment. Strong performances all the way.
Seductive and horrifying at the same time...The film opens with a rush of energy and doesn't let up.
Audience Reviews for The Wave
Despite its jumpy stylistical choices, which clearly serve to appeal young viewers into the story, it deals with an extremely serious subject matter that will trigger very important social and moral discussionsMore
Based on actual events. Although the actual experiment took place in Palo Alto, California, this film takes place in Germany. A teacher decides to undertake a project in his class where his students believe that a dictatorship can never happen in Germany ever again. For the week, the teacher declares himself dictator, and becomes the ruling leader of his newly established group. Before he knows it, however, his students have taken the project outside of school grounds, and extend fascism into the hands of unwilling participants. The project soon gets out of control. Although greatly exaggerated at times, one has to remember that the film is based from real events, and that is what makes the film powerful. The Wave is a study on how one charismatic leader can motivate a populus into doing his will. It is dictatorship on a very small scale, but the haunting part is that dictatorships always start from a small group of mind-washed individuals. I recommend checking this link out: http://libcom.org/history/the-third-wave-1967-account-ron-jones.....which explains the actual experiment. Really good film here!!More
This German drama about a teacher's project of showing his class how easily people fall into fascism traps starts out somewhat slow, taking its time to establish the characters. And even once the experiments starts to get more and more out of hand, the drama is never taken too far and stays realistic. Only the ending feels a bit too over the top. The open minded viewer can certainly appreciate this cautionary tale, yet at the same time question the fact that the voice of reason against The Wave remains somewhat small. The acting and good direction make for an entertaining and important piece of film, that doesn't get too preachy. Still, I expected a little more, somehow.More
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