A brief diversion if I may, Norway is a country with a huge dichotomy; on the one hand it is one of the largest exporters of oil and gas in the world, ahead of Saudi Arabia in some measures, yet the country itself mainly uses hydropower for its own power needs, even exporting some of that clean power to its Scandinavian neighbours.
So, despite desperately wanting to be seen as a world leader in green energy, it is also one of the largest exporters of unclean energy. Got it? Good, for it’s this latter point that The Burning Sea takes aim at, though not in some eco-warrior way.
Instead, either director John Andreas Andersen (“The Quake”, “Okkupert (TV)”) or writers Harald Rosenløw-Eeg and Lars Gudmestad (“Betrayed”, “Dragon Girl”) or all, had seen the prototype robot currently in early stages with Eelume.
This prototype is intended for use in deep sea areas and is like a giant arm that can swim, with clamps at either end. When we join The Burning Sea we get to see this prototype being taken for a spin by Sofia, Kristine Kujath Thorp (“Ninjababy”, “Betrayed”) and her assistant Arthur, Rolf Kristian Larsen (“Operasjon Mumie”, “Home Ground (TV)”).
Suddenly they are called to a mysterious job by the oil company Saga and the man in charge William Lie, Bjørn Floberg (“Margrete – Queen of the North”, “90 Minutes”), who immediately gets them to sign some non-disclosure agreements before ushering them onto a waiting helicopter where they are taken to an offshore rig.
There’s been an accident, a rig has collapsed, they believe there may be people still alive in air pockets and want them to use their robot to find them. They do, but there’s not much they can do once they’ve found them, particularly when gas begins leaking again and they are forced to exit, quickly, before there’s a massive explosion.
As they are getting their robot out of the danger zone they notice something untoward. This wasn’t a gas explosion from a rig, this came from the sea bed and, sure enough, nature is having its say and pushing back, creating a massive rift right where Norway is pulling oil and gas out of it.
Queue a large-scale evacuation and shutdown of all the offshore oil rigs, including the one Sofia’s boyfriend Stian, Henrik Bjelland (“Now It’s Dark”, “Hoppetau (Short)”), works on. However, just before he’s about to leave they receive word that they aren’t able to remotely shut down one of the drills, so Stian volunteers to head down and do it manually, just as a third of the rig splinters off and falls into the sea.
Unable to accept that he’s dead, Sofia and Arthur catch a lift from Stian’s sister on a rescue helicopter and go looking for him with their fancy robot. Will they find him? Will they be able to get away if they do?
The Burning Sea, or North Sea or Nordsjøen as it is also known, is an enjoyable film. The effects are excellent, massive ships being swallowed, rigs exploding and fire, lots of fire, is all good. Perhaps where they fall down a little are with the robots and with some of the close-ups of bits of rigs after a disaster, but otherwise this is on a par with anything you’ll see from Hollywood.
The story is good, if not a tad predictable, but it’s well performed and has a great sense of theatre and drama to the whole thing with the ‘everything explodes’ elements taking second stage unlike some other recent disaster movies we’ve seen.
30th May 2022
John Andreas Andersen
THE QUICK SELL
An oil platform dramatically goes down on the Norwegian coast, and researchers try to find out what happened when they realize this is just the start of something even more serious.