For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
High school teacher, Rainer Wenger, may be popular with the students, but he's also unorthodox. He's forced to teach autocracy for the school's project week. He's less than enthusiastic at first, but the response of the students is surprising to say the least. He forces the students to become more invested in the prospect of self rule, and soon the class project has its own power and eerily starts to resemble Germany's past. Can Wegner and his class realize what's happening before the horrors start repeating themselves?Written by
Based on the novel "The Wave" by Todd Strasser (under the pen name Morton Rhue), a fictionalized account of the "Third Wave" teaching experiment by Ron Jones that took place in a Cubberley High School history class in Palo Alto, California in April 1967. See more »
The action is clearly set in the 21st century, but the license plates of most or all cars begin with 'BE' (district 'Beckum', North Rhine-Westphalia). These licenses expired on January 1st, 1975. (This surely is intended to set the action 'somewhere in Germany') See more »
So you don't think there could be another dictatorship in Germany?
No, we are too enlightened now.
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Opening and closing credits appear as graffiti. See more »
The Wave rides high (pun intended) on the new wave of film makers from Germany. The movie itself is shaped like a proverbial wave, starts gently and slowly gathers momentum and before you know it it turns into a powerhouse. The movie will amuse you, frighten you, disturb you and enthrall you completely.
The movie takes a lesson in human psychology and shows how it is possible for a person with oratory skills and confidence to start a movement that turns into a revolution with frightening possibilities. It explains a lot about world history and current affairs.
Theme apart, I don't usually like to discuss any movie's story but I suppose if you're here you would've read the other reviews and summaries and would know a fair bit already. Putting it mildly, the movie deals with a classroom experiment about autocracy which has interesting positive and negative consequences.
The direction is sharp and spot on. The director is able to delve deeply into the minds of the various characters and explain their behaviour and position in the society that is created. It is all done realistically. The acting by and large is very good; however a few of the actors displayed a scope for further improvement. However this does not take away much from the movie experience. There are certain similarities with another great German film, Das Experiment, but not many.
I am certainly going to suggest this film to people I know including people who live on a staple of Hollywood blockbusters and like to keep away from festival films. So if you get the opportunity to watch it, please do.
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