Wednesday 29 June 2011

The Wave

The Wave (2008)
Die Welle (original title)

Director: Dennis Gansel

Writers: Dennis Gansel, Todd Strasser (novel)

Stars: Jürgen Vogel, Frederick Lau and Max Riemelt

The film opens in a rush of energy with charismatic teacher Rainer Wegner beginning a week long class on autocracy. To indifferent students, it’s a hard sell, but Wegner gets an idea for an experiment: as their leader he asks the students to call him Mr Wegner, chooses the motto strength through discipline, creates a logo, decides that everyone wears a white shirt, and names the group, The Wave adding a secret sign reminiscent of a Nazi salute.

Much to their surprise the students find that they like the power of unity and soon this new found discipline spills over to other school activities and newcomers join the group. The Wave gives the kids something to believe in for a change, until they go too far and The Wave spins out of control.

The climax of the film is spine-chilling and there are moments throughout the movie when you can’t help but feeling uncomfortably seduced by the subject of fascism which Gansel wraps up carefully under the autocracy heading. The ending deviates from the original experiences of Ron Jones – the California teacher who was the inspiration the film and earlier book.


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