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The Wave (Die Welle)

4.4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Germany today. During project week, a popular and unorthodox high school teacher, in an attempt to stir up his lethargic students, devises an experiment that will explain what totalitarianism is and how it works. What begins with harmless notions about discipline and community builds into a real movement: The Wave. Within days, The Wave s uniformly attired students begin ostracizing and threatening others, and violence boils just below the surface. Sensing danger, the teacher decides to break off the experiment. But it may be too late The Wave has taken on a life of its own and is out of control. Based on a true story, THE WAVE chillingly shows just how easily the seeds of fascism can be sown.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jurgen Vogel, Frederick Lau, Max Riemelt
  • Directors: Dennis Gansel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HP2IYE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,934 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Germany, The Present: Rainer Wenger (Jorgen Vogel) is a middle-aged high school teacher who has been reluctantly tasked with teaching an optional class on the notion of "autocracy" during project week. A former anarchist himself, Wenger initially encounters gentle resistance from his teenage wards - who are predominately the indulged, privileged children of successful middle class intellectuals who have been so inculcated with the historical significance and conduct of the Nazis that they have come to believe that it would be impossible for a dictatorship such as the National Socialist Worker's Party to rise to dominance again. With this in mind, Wenger initiates a week-long practical experiment in the class in order to examine whether just such an event is truly possible. But as the class begin to coalesce around the authoritarian youth movement, which they name "The Wave",events begin to run out of control...

Like its recent German contemporary, The Experiment, "The Wave" is a fictionalized account of events which actually occurred in the US: "Das Experiment" was a reimagining of Philip Zimbardo's notorious "Stanford Prison" experiments (chronicled in his book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil) and "The Wave" is based on an actual class experiment which allegedly ran out of control in Pao Alto, California in the late sixties (and which was fictionalized by Morton Rhue/Todd Strasser in his book, The Wave (New Windmills)).
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Dennis Gansel's "The Wave" is one of those hot button cautionary tales that, when handled incorrectly, can be painfully over-the-top. This German film, however, takes a controversial and provocative subject and keeps a remarkably level head. And I'll tell you what--this movie blew me away! Taking its inspiration from a real life incident, "The Wave" posits how fascism might easily reposition itself in a contemporary setting. This political allegory is all the more unsettling in that it is actually developed in a believable way. With the powerful "Before The Fall" and the stylish "We Are The Night," Gansel is fast becoming one of my favorite screenwriters and directors. He can and does make visually arresting films, but actually has something of import to say as well. If you have not seen "Before The Fall," I strongly recommend that one as well for a more historical look at youths and fascism.

"The Wave" is set in modern day Germany. A high school curriculum has students enrolling in special projects based on different forms of government. A popular teacher (a great Jurgen Vogel) tries to invigorate his seminar on autocracy by stimulating discussion in unorthodox ways. He leads the class in exercises in discipline, uniformity, and communal ideals. The students are so taken, they start really coming together. It's as if by providing order and structure, the kids are getting something they didn't know they were missing. But this new group spirit also brings about a certain elitism and brashness. Some are taking the experiment a bit far, and those that oppose them must face the repercussions. As the days progress, the situation becomes increasingly tense.
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Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Amazon Video
Dennis Gansel's "The Wave" is one of those hot button cautionary tales that, when handled incorrectly, can be painfully over-the-top. This German film, however, takes a controversial and provocative subject and keeps a remarkably level head. And I'll tell you what--this movie blew me away! Taking its inspiration from a real life incident, "The Wave" posits how fascism might easily reposition itself in a contemporary setting. This political allegory is all the more unsettling in that it is actually developed in a believable way. With the powerful "Before The Fall" and the stylish "We Are The Night," Gansel is fast becoming one of my favorite screenwriters and directors. He can and does make visually arresting films, but actually has something of import to say as well. If you have not seen "Before The Fall," I strongly recommend that one as well for a more historical look at youths and fascism.

"The Wave" is set in modern day Germany. A high school curriculum has students enrolling in special projects based on different forms of government. A popular teacher (a great Jurgen Vogel) tries to invigorate his seminar on autocracy by stimulating discussion in unorthodox ways. He leads the class in exercises in discipline, uniformity, and communal ideals. The students are so taken, they start really coming together. It's as if by providing order and structure, the kids are getting something they didn't know they were missing. But this new group spirit also brings about a certain elitism and brashness. Some are taking the experiment a bit far, and those that oppose them must face the repercussions. As the days progress, the situation becomes increasingly tense.
Read more ›
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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