8 November 2019 | DjMethod
Rediscovering family & love among the oscillatory demands of life
*minor vague spoilers on structure & theme*
Waves is an ambitious, impassioned, and honest depiction of the trials and tribulations that reverberate through our lives. It is slice of life cinema that brings us so urgently into human moments at an intimacy I haven't seen since Honeyland or Roma. It's about the weight of our personal battles, but also about rediscovering family, love, and some sense of normalcy in a world that can grow tumultuous and overbearing.
Waves, however, is primarily a sensory experience. The meticulous, immersive film & sound editing is notably well done, with visuals & colors that reflect character & mood, thoughtfully crafted transitions, and a jarring shift in tone and theme (writer/director Trey Edward Schultz apparently does all the editing himself!). There is essentially an anxiety-filled Krisha-like chapter accompanied by a fantastic score from Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails, followed by a lighter, more weightless Terrence Malick chapter. The camera communicates theme and emotion through all of this extraordinarily well.
Wonderful casting & chemistry. It's sincerely difficult to pick a favorite character when each one is written and acted so well. A few minor issues with the first half, including the medical probability of a particular event and the dynamic style being a bit heavy-handed initially. The second half emotionally wrecked the audience, as tears and sobs filled the Opera House throughout this portion. At times I thought of Lee Chang-dong's masterful meditation on grief, Secret Sunshine in the way the film spends time in silence, self-discovery, and learning to love again.
The opening shot of the film begins with the sound of heavy breathing in and out. Amidst all the chaos in life, it never again feels we can reduce life back down to these peaceful respiratory oscillations that keep us alive and moving forward.
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