Newest Reviews
Neighbour, The
Boy, The
ReZort, The
Julie Darling
Astro-Zombies, The
Monsieur Hulot's Holiday
Notes on Blindness
Black Widow
Wizard, The
Odds Against Tomorrow
End of the Tour, The
Greasy Strangler, The
Electric Horseman, The
White Palace
Pool of London
13 Hours
Two Women
Soft for Digging
Man and a Woman, A
Keeping Room, The
Whale of a Tale, A
Atomic Submarine, The
Starry, Starry Night
Ghosthunters: On Icy Trails
Oil City Confidential
Love Has Many Faces
Paco and the Magical Book
Newest Articles
Queens of Women: Five Cult Stars, Five Cult Films
Abstract Strategies: The Brothers Quay on Blu-ray
Born to be Cad: George Sanders and Psychomania
Speed Kills: The History of Fast Zombies
Skeleton Crew: The Blind Dead Movies
The Stars Are Out Tonight: Hollywood Celebrity Casts in the 70s
Super-Irreverent: Deadpool and his Amazing Friends
Made in Britain: Alan Clarke at the BBC
Manor On Movies: Saucy Sexy Spicy Space Sirens
Whicker Ask It: Whicker's World on DVD
  Wave, The Their StruggleBuy this film here.
Year: 2008
Director: Dennis Gansel
Stars: Jürgen Vogel, Frederick Lau, Max Riemelt, Jennifer Ulrich, Christiane Paul, Jacob Maschentz, Cristina do Rogo, Elyas M'Barek, Maximilian Vollmar, Max Mauff, Ferdinand Schmidt-Modrow, Tim Oliver Schultz, Amelie Kiefer, Fabian Preger, Odine Johne
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rainer Wenger (Jürgen Vogel) is a teacher of P.E. at this German high school, but he also tutors in political science and fancies himself as something of a rebel within the system with his punk T-shirts and cool attitude, not to mention the admiring reaction he receives from the students. But today there's a spanner thrown in the works when his assignment to teach anarchism in class is changed so he now takes the autocracy lectures instead. He tries to reason with the headmistress but she won't alter her mind, and neither will the other teacher who doesn't like him much anyway...

So what to do but make the best of it, and throw himself into the study of dictatorships, spurred on by an increasingly eager class? You can see where this is going early on, but that didn't make it any the less vital in its dramatics which alternated between Rainer's home life with his pregnant wife Anke (Christiane Paul) who is sceptical about his methods at first, then eventually hostile, and the teens who take the message of teaming up to become a stronger society to heart. But they don't realise that what they are doing is emulating the fascists who took over Germany back in the 1930s and led it to utter disaster.

If this sounds heavy handed, then it was, but it remained compelling due to director Dennis Gansel keeping things within the bounds of probability - well, up to a point. In the meantime, the autocracy class turn to enthusiastically embracing their studies if it means essentially they become a gang of sorts, with a charismatic leader in Herr Wenger as they now call him (before he was the trendy teacher who insisted on the pupils using his first name), dress in a uniform of white shirts and denims, and even, to rub in the allegory further, invent their own symbol and salute, mirroring their new designation as "The Wave", a title chosen by vote. Soon they are the talk of the school, but not necessarily in a good sense.

One pupil, Karo (Jennifer Ulrich) refuses to wear the white shirt and finds herself ostracised, feeling she cannot stay on the course any longer. With a small band of sympathisers, she orchestrates a campaign against The Wave, distributing flyers preaching opposition to them, but is overhwelmed by the tide of their sinister conformity. Crucially, no matter how far the students go in their pursuit of this new order, Gansel never allows us to lose sight of their humanity, as we can well understand why they have progressed as far as they have from a disorganised collection of disparate youths to a powerful force for their own self-promotion. As they spread their symbols and influence around the town, Rainer gradually wakes up to what he has spawned.

If this is coming across as farfetched, remember it was based on a true story, not the actual rise of the Nazis but an experiment in California of the late sixties, where a schoolteacher seeking to teach his class about fascism allowed the lessons to get out of hand. This film was obviously more potent for setting that story in Germany, and if there was a right on moral to be related here it might well have reached the correct audience more than a dry textbook could ever have done. Is the capacity for this kind of conformism inherent in human nature, the film ponders, can we all begin to fall into thoughtless persecution and lining up with unsavoury ideologies simply because they offer the veneer of security against a perceived "other" when we're really being controlled by the power hungry and venal? It's a good question, but Gansel falters at the finish line with an overly mleodramatic conclusion when he could have ended it perfectly appropriately a couple of minutes before. Nevertheless, a very interesting effort. Music by Heiko Maile.

Aka: Die Welle
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 669 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme music?
Superman: The Movie
The Dark Knight
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ('74)
Star Wars
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Great Escape
The Ipcress File
The Magnificent Seven
Back to the Future

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Don Emmott
Andrew Pragasam
David Dent
  Arvinder Seehra
  John Kelly
  Karl Weston


Last Updated: