Filled with breathtaking fjords and rugged, snow-capped mountains, Norway relies on hundreds of tunnels to connect its hinterland communities to the rest of the country. As essential as they are, these tunnels – according to the opening headlines of “The Tunnel’s” – are also sites of potential devastation. A collision in these cavernous pathways could unleash a domino effect of raging fires, chaos and panic among survivors as blinding black smoke threatens to suffocate those struggling to find a way out.
Surprise Surprise. This is precisely what happens in director Pal Oie’s mythical yet sufficiently entertaining thriller, the unofficial third in a series of popular Norwegian disaster films with explicit titles (namely “The Wave” and its sequel, ” The Quake ”).
The crisis unfolds through multiple perspectives – a family of four trapped inside the tunnel; an unpleasant businessman who, by chance, avoids the accident; a traffic controller guiding the rescue efforts from a distance. Most of the film, however, follows a beefy firefighter, Stein (Thorbjorn Harr), whose feisty teenage daughter Elise (Ylva Fuglerud) finds himself in danger after defiantly hopping on a charter bus bound for Oslo for holidays. Stein and his team of rescuers are out of their depth in the face of hell for several miles. Nonetheless, news of Elise’s whereabouts sends her fearless father to the rescue.
The human dimension is painfully cliché, and Goose’s awkward orchestration of intersecting individual stories flattens the film’s overall momentum. However, it manages to create moments of genuine suspense and heartbreaking claustrophobia with its simple premise and contained action on a small scale. “The Tunnel” isn’t a bad time, but it’s not terribly memorable either – a shame given the familiar nervousness of driving through those long, dark stretches.
Unclassified. In Norwegian, with subtitles. Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes. In theaters and on Apple TV, FandangoNow and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. Please review the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies in theaters.