Movie Review: The Tunnel

The Tunnel' Review: A Horizontal 'Towering Inferno' - Variety

credit: The Tunnel

Sometimes a storyline that feels mundane can lead to moments that are absolutely horrifying when given just enough realism to go on. The story that is told by The Tunnel has much more to show than the titular location where the action takes place, but it tells a tale that makes it possible to feel something for the characters since Elise and her father, Stein, are obviously having issues following the death of Elise’s mother.

The fact that Stein has a new love interest doesn’t help matters, but neither does the fact that Elise is not ready to move on. In some ways, this issue kind of overrides anything else up until it becomes necessary to worry about the sudden crash of a tanker truck when it hits the wall and blocks up traffic in a tunnel that’s at least several kilometers in length. On its own, the blocked tunnel isn’t as much of a tragedy as it could be, but when the truck explodes into a fiery blockade that starts feeding ash into the tunnel and making the air toxic to breathe, the real problems start. 

The Tunnel - Trailer [no] - Cineuropa

credit: The Tunnel

The tunnel system in Norway is real. 

It’s not too tough to look up the fact that Norway has well over a thousand tunnels that create a system that might be kind of confusing to a lot of people, but the fact that the country has mainly islands and fjords necessitates the need for pathways through solid rock and even undersea tunnels that allow traffic to flow. It’s not the safest system in the world, but those who monitor and maintain the tunnel system have done what they can to make it as safe as possible, and to this date, the system is still used out of necessity. The movie does make a point to show a few measures that have been taken to make the tunnels easier to maintain and safer for those who have to use them so often. But it’s also possible, as the movie shows, for accidents to happen and to escalate quickly in such an enclosed space. 

Being stuck in a tunnel with a raging fire would be a horrible way to go. 

Some folks might think it would be easy to go back the way they came, but if a tunnel is filling up with smoke and ash, which can happen quickly and without warning as the movie makes it appear, that might not be the case. It’s definitely not possible when both ends become inaccessible for one reason or another, which makes this a very difficult situation to be in. One might think that there would be plenty of air rushing inward from one side or the other, but in an enclosed space it does make sense that the air supply could be cut off and could grow exceedingly toxic in the event of a fire. The idea that this movie kept to some semblance of reality is tough to deny, but it does feel that it took a dramatic turn for the worst, which made the movie a little more cinematic. The truth is that this movie is loosely based on a real crash, so it’s fair to think that many things were at least somewhat realistic. 

TrustNordisk lands US deal on Norwegian disaster drama 'The Tunnel' | News  | Screen

credit: The Tunnel

The acting is actually good enough to be believable. 

If there’s any way to state that acting is believable, it comes when one can see that people are just trying to act like people, not like stereotypes that are seen in nearly every movie that’s released to the public. Real acting makes a person feel the emotions that the actors are trying to portray, and one might actually find themselves holding their breath at one point during this movie since the very real terror of being stuck in an environment that is growing more toxic by the moment is something that a lot of people might not want to think about simply because it’s a little too real. But while it’s not exactly a blockbuster, this movie is something that can at least give people a look at something they might not have seen before. Seriously, the tunnel system in Norway is something that stands out as an interesting aspect of the country. 

This movie has a few heroes, but none of them are more important than the others, which is nice. 

Stein is obviously one of the biggest personalities in this movie, but Elise stands out as well since they both feel the need to help and save others, even if Stein is the better-trained of the two. His daughter still takes after him quite well, and there are a few other heroic individuals that stand out in this movie. There are those who stand out for other reasons as well, but the heroics of those who attempt to help others helps to make this movie a little easier to watch. 

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