The Wave

2011

The Wave

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.

67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 18

80%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,077

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Movie Info

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

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News & Interviews for The Wave

Critic Reviews for The Wave

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (6)

  • "The Wave" feels overdetermined and ploddingly dramatized.

    May 26, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • It's a strong film but in the end a rather obvious one.

    September 19, 2008 | Rating: 3/5
  • 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.

    September 19, 2008 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    September 19, 2008 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    September 19, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    September 19, 2008 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Wave

  • Jul 22, 2013
    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 discussions
    Pierluigi P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 29, 2012
    Wasn't as good as the book.
    Dannielle A Super Reviewer
  • Jan 29, 2012
    Based on a true story, the movie is even more powerful than the book. The Wave is a stylistic look at fascism and dictatorship. It's also sends the perfect message of how vulnerable kids are to an idea. Solid performances, great plot, and I liked the setting, which is Germany. I never realized how different the actual landscape is from the U.S. A very well made movie.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 14, 2012
    While I would say that the movie is good overall it lacks something very important aspect and it's that the story just isn't believable enough. I had a hard time taking the events of the movie seriously, because everything happens within the span of a week. This was based on a real event, so I have no problem with the idea that the kids bought into this experiment as it gave them a place where they were all equals and part of something that, they felt, was important. What I don't buy is the rest of the week's events, how far things are taken and how 'tragically' it all ends. The movie also takes itself way too seriously and it really thinks it's more clever than it actually is. It's a good idea about how something like this CAN happen again under certain circumstances but the movie just doesn't work as well as it should given the subject matter. I'd rather watch the documentary that was produced by the students that were involved with the original experiment.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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