The Abyss review, a nail biter based on truth

Tuva Novotny in The Abyss

The Abyss is a nail biter of a disaster movie from Sweden, based in fact. The city of Kiruna, Sweden is a real city with a real iron mining operation that has been ongoing for hundreds of years. The Swedes really are moving the town, house by house, a couple of miles down the road to avoid the sink holes and earthquakes that are becoming more frequent.

The Abyss, directed by Richard Holm, personalizes (and exaggerates) the story by building the tension around one family as the earth collapses under their feet.

Frigga (Tuva Novotny) is head of mine security and comes from a long family tradition of working at and supporting the mine operations.

Tuva Novotny, Felicia Maxime, Kardo Razzazi, Peter Franzén, and Edvin Ryding are the main cast in The Abyss
Frigga and her family

Frigga is at odds with her two teens, Mika (Felicia Maxime) and Simon (Edvin Ryding). She’s not quite divorced from her husband Tage (Peter Franzén), and her new boyfriend Dabir (Kardo Razzazi) arrives to help celebrate Simon’s birthday. That seems like enough problems in her life, but her day isn’t going to go the way she thought.

When they wake up in the morning, Simon can’t be found. They start looking for him. Was he near a dangerous rift during the night? Earthquakes and sinkholes prompt Frigga to head into the mine for an inspection. When the first big collapse happens they are in the mine and have the most claustrophobic escape route ever to crawl out.

Once they are above ground again, they still can’t find Simon. Frigga orders an evacuation of the town. Mika runs into the danger to find her girlfriend Aila (Tintin Poggats Sarri). Aila is at a protest about moving the bookstore to the new Kiruna.

There’s plenty of tension and danger as Frigga struggles to save the people in her town and rescue her own children. Everyone has to be saved multiple times as the earth swallows up trucks, houses, schools and mountains. Lots of breath holding! Remember to breathe.

When they find Simon, he has to be rescued, too. Again, remember to breathe. The film is as much about family, love, and relationships as it is the mine disaster. It gives a human underpinning to the story. Unexpected characters become heroes.

Of course, it’s human activity that caused the innards of the mountain to be emptied out in the first place, but these miners aren’t thinking along those lines. To people who just want to save their jobs, keep the bookstore open, and celebrate a birthday, the environmental disasters waiting for us seem impossible to control.

The trailer gives you a good visual of what to expect without revealing many spoilers. Watch it on YouTube.

There was a 1989 movie called The Abyss about being under the ocean. Do you remember it? This current Swedish movie by that title is streaming on Netflix.

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