WAVES is a film playing in limited theaters that is starting to get some Oscar attention late in the game. So naturally I went to see it to check it off my potential nominations list (btw, I’m not doing the full thing like I did last year, only thing I want checked off the list as a whole are the Best Picture nominees). It is actually a really beautiful film about the choices we make and the “waves” of reverberation it has on those around us. The consequences more specifically. While the film is a whole, it is unique by completely switching gears (thankfully not jarringly) a little more than halfway into the film, into another character’s perspective. And the first half will have you nervous what is in store for the characters, while the second half will calm that nerve down but make you a little bit more emotional. With my critique of the film as a whole, I do have to say that one half of the movie works better than the other (the first), but that isn’t to say that the film falters in anyway, it’s just a personal opinion of what worked for me. If you like family dramas with a little bit more of a bite, an edge, this is probably right up your alley. I can tell you that the movie really makes you think about what could happen to you in a flash because of a major split second mistake.
And the film is gorgeously shot too, changing aspect ratios several times based upon the mood of the movie. It was written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, whose only done three films, and I’ve only seen one of the other two, It Comes At Night, and I didn’t really care for it at all. This film shows his true potential. Another thing that makes this film stand out is the fantastic score by Academy Award winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who won a well deserved statue for scoring 2010’s The Social Network. Their work here is nothing short of amazing as well, and I hope that maybe it can sneak into the Best Original Score race come next month when Oscar nominations are announced. What is the movie about? Well, to not get into any spoilers, let’s just say it deals with a family, specifically the brother and the sister. The brother is a praised high school senior athlete, in wrestling, who finds out he has a major, major problem with his shoulder…and his sister, a grade or two below him, stands way under his shadow, but starts to find love with a boy, played by Lucas Hedges. Their father, played by Sterling K. Brown, while a good man, maybe pushes the brother too hard while neglecting the sister a little. And that’s all you need to know. Anything else and the film is completely spoiled.
But it’s a solid movie. The first half is extremely tense, while the second half will probably make you cry Niagara Falls. I expected one of the outcomes of the perspectives to be much worse in my head than what happened on screen, but thinking back on it, that was me just trying to come up with the worst situation possible, and not in regards to what would make a good story or work with the narrative. The acting here also elevates the movie into something that is definitely worth checking out. Sterling K. Brown we all know is a fantastic acting, having already won several Emmy for his work on This Is Us and American Crime Story, and here is he just as good. Maybe not Oscar caliber yet, but extremely close. Lucas Hedges, who has been in a shit ton since being nominated for supporting in Manchester By The Sea, is great here too, playing the sister’s shy love interest. The Oscar caliber performances come from the two playing the brother and sister, Kevin Harrison Jr. (only good part of It Comes At Night) and Taylor Russell (the main girl from Escape Room). Again, without spoiling anything, both of their performances are riveting and heartbreaking. Any other year, they’d be more in the Oscar conversation. But yeah, good film, not much more to say on it, other than what I’ve already said: a solid family drama that makes you think, and will make you think harder with the choices you make in the future.