Eco disaster movies are hard ones to get right. For every Day After Tomorrow and Solyent Green, you also end up with a bunch of Geostorm and The Happenings as well. Fortunately The Burning Sea falls into the first category as this Norwegian venture is not only timely but terrificly tense too.
In 1969, the Norwegian government announces their discovery of one of the world’s largest oil fields in the neighbouring North Sea, launching a prosperous period of offshore drilling.
Fifty years later, the environmental consequences begin to manifest – a crack has opened on the ocean floor, causing a rig to collapse. A team of researchers, including submarine operator Sofia (Kristine Kujath Thorp), rushes in to search for the missing and assess the cause of the damage. But what they discover is that this is just the start of a possible apocalyptic catastrophe. As rigs are evacuated, Sofia’s partner Stian (Henrik Bjelland) becomes trapped in the depths of the sea, leaving Sofia to come to his rescue.
Kristine Kujath Thorp (Ninjababy) bounds into the action in a manner akin to Naomi Rapace arrival in The Girl With Dragon Tattoo. She oozes big screen Charisma from the get go, while giving the adventure are real warmth and heart. She dives right in and grabs the story by the scruff of the neck with a real passion that drives The Burning Sea to a better movie than it probably would have been. Despite the story being fairly basic and linear, it gets to where it wants to be in a methodical way and delivers the payoff you’re expecting, but not in the way you would probably imagined.
Cleverely John Andreas Andersen keeps the over the top premise to a minimum and delivers the tech and ditches in in short order to rely on the human drama more, which is where The Burning Sea really shines. The corporation type bad guys, do their thing, with the we should have realised trope before everything goes south for our protagonists. Its all handled well and fortunately we dont dwell in the office too much other than to give the linger shots on Nils Elias Olsen’s sad face as his father faces impending doom.
The set pieces are glorious underplayed too, with the lions share of the rescue centring around a oil rig escape boat. Their method of escape immediately makes you cry out about the folly of what they are attempting which is quickly realised, plunging our heroes into even more trouble.
If theres any complaint is the film just withers away at the end without really putting a stamp on the ecological disaster that Oil brings to our oceans and seas, but then after being hauled through the trails and tribulations of the films peril, maybe you don’t want to be preached at. And for that you can just watch Steven Seagals On Deadly Ground instead. The Burning Sea just comes with less ponytailed asskickery.
Kristine Kujath Thorp is definitely one to watch and hopefully we will see her get her crack in Hollywood. Until then get yourself familiar with The Burning Sea and enjoy a solid disaster flick.
The Burning Sea Is Available On Digital Now