Based on a real-life experiment that took place in a Californian high school, The Wave tells the story of a high school teacher's unusual class experiment. In an attempt to demonstrate what life is like under a dictatorship, the teacher comes up with an experiment to explain to his students how totalitarian governments work. A role-playing game with tragic results. Within a few days, what began with harmless notions like discipline and community builds into a real movement: The Wave. As the students boundaries are pushed, things begin to spiral out of control and this newly found cult starts to take on a life of its own.
The Wave follows the recent German film industry output by tackling demons of the past, namely fascism. Like Downfall and Das Experiment before it, the result is extremely powerful and thought provoking. Based on true-life events in America during the 60’s, a college class form The Third Wave to debate whether fascism could exist once again in Germany. For this film the ‘third’ prefix is dropped and the setting is switched from the States to German school - it makes a refreshing change to see a European film taking an American source! While some facts have been enhanced, or elements introduced to accommodate the modern setting, the underlying force remains. Students from all backgrounds become loyal and disciplined to The Wave and its rules. Soon the teacher as head of the movement is faced with some tough decisions as the movement spirals out of control. The need to belong and feel part of a group is evident, but will the followers react, as they should when events start to occur? The Wave is excellent and hard hitting, well worth experiencing.