TUNNEL, THE (TUNNELEN)
(director: Pål Øie; screenwriter: Kjersti Helen Rasmussen; cinematographer: Sjur Aarthun; editor: Sjur Aarthun; music: Ingo Frenzel/Martin Todsharow/Lars Löhn; cast: Thorbjørn Harr (Stein), Ylva Fuglerud (Elise), Lisa Carlehed (Ingrid), Mikkel Bratt Silset (Ivar), Peter Førde (Kurt), Daniel Alexander Skadal (Rafa), Per Egil Aske (Christian), Ingvild Holthe Bygdnes (Andrea), Jan Gunnar Roise (Gunnar), Silje Breivik (Mia), Igor Necemer (Anatol); Runtime:105; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Einar Loftesnes/John Einar Hagen; Handmade Films/The Fresh Films/Samuel Goldwyn Films; 2019-Norway-in Norwegian with English subtitles)
“A cliche-laden but well-crafted disaster movie from Norway.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A cliche-laden but well-crafted disaster movie from Norway directed by Pål Øie (“Hidden”/”Astrup”) and written in a formulaic way but filled with plenty of emotional value by Kjersti Helen Rasmussen.
It’s the Christmas season when a tanker truck explodes after accidentally hitting the wall in a five-mile tunnel through a nearby mountain pass. Many of those in cars are tourists trapped in the tunnel, whose both exits are blocked. They must battle the darkness and cold while suffering from possible suffocation as smoke fills the tunnel. The question is if they can be rescued in time by the fire fighters, first-responders and those civil servants in charge of maintenance, as a blizzard and the icy roads makes their rescue task even more difficult.
The tension ratchets up in the struggle for survival because of the claustrophobic situation, as the stoic career civil service maintenance man, Stein (Thorbjørn Harr), is ordered to report to the disaster area. He’s joined by the loudmouth young first responder Ivar (Mikkel Bratt Silset) and some personnel at the Road Traffic Control Center in Bergen. Also, Stein’s daughter Elise (Ylva Fuglerud) is coming to visit him for the holidays by bus and her bus is one of the vehicles trapped. But she thoroughly knows the tunnel through her dad, and helps a mother and her child, passengers on her bus, escape with her.
The grim thriller’s major problem is that too much time elapses without sufficient action as the screen goes dark for long periods, long enough to turn off this viewer.
But the convincing performance by Harr and the nimble direction by Øie, who keeps it as a pleasant reminder of earlier successful disaster movies, even if it’s only superficial, leave the B-film with enough thrills to be entertaining.
REVIEWED ON 4/6/2021 GRADE: B-