From a new-age psychedelic soundtrack to career-defining performances, check out my review on one of the most cinematically inventive experiences I’ve personally seen in a while!
Usually, when I watch a trailer my ego leads me to believe that I’ve sussed out the film... but for WAVES, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I was hoping it wouldn’t be the traditional tale of teenagers gone wild, whilst illegally drinking cheap booze… And while WAVES featured all those things, it was accompanied with so much more depth than I initially anticipated.
Rejecting the typical urban narrative of oppression, WAVES introduced us to a middle-class African American family of 4 from the suburbs, led by an empowering yet daunting father (Sterling K. Brown) who lives and breathes the codes of conduct for black excellence. Against this backdrop, Shults beautifully dissects teenage love, as well as the outcome of inherited pressure, followed by the rising concern of medically prescribed drugs in America.
One thing I will say, for the nauseous readers, I’d say be PREPARED for a whirlwind.
In the opening scene and throughout the film, Shults uses a slow-spiraling filming technique which 1 or 2 viewers found to be “car sickening”, but I think it’s exactly the expression Shults wanted to gain from his audience, as the unorthodox, heart-racing technique absorbed our attention whilst we watched the young, wild and careless speed through the streets of Miami.
Instantly, we’re introduced to the protagonist, a complex character named Tyler Williams (Kelvin Harrison Jr). A popular high school senior merited by his achievements within his school’s wrestling team. We all know how big American's place sports within their education system, so you can only imagine that Tyler wasn’t short of self-esteem, but we quickly discover that he has a completely opposite persona with his parents.
And it’s not just Tyler’s relationship with his family that will take viewers on a whirlwind, Tyler dates one of his school’s most popular students, Alexis (Alexa Demie), and their continuous need for each-others love and affection take the young couple on a journey that viewers would never have expected.
Without giving too much away, GO and SEE WAVES! But be ready to take in immense colour saturation, transitional shot techniques that would impress any “movie buff” and, most importantly, the seat-gripping chain of events which leads to an unexpected plot twist.