Waves

2019

Drama / Romance / Sport

30
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 81%
IMDb Rating 7.7 10 4,337

Synopsis


Downloaded times
February 19, 2020

Cast

Harmony Korine as Mr. Stanley
Neal Huff as Dr. Flint
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.22 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
135 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.41 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
135 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.22 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
135 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.41 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
135 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Bertaut 8 / 10 / 10

Bleak, but never despondent; audacious and confidant filmmaking

Writer/director Trey Edward Shults's previous films, the unconventional Thanksgiving drama Krisha (2015) and the brilliant but poorly marketed post-apocalyptic thriller It Comes at Night (2017) would seem to have little in common with the more social realist concerns of Waves. However, all three share the same thematic DNA, focusing as they do on a family under intense pressure. And as with those films, if you're into formalism, you'll find plenty here to keep you happy; elaborate camera moves, varying aspect ratios, unusual colour correction, striking shot composition, a sound design which bleeds into the soundtrack/score (and vice versa), a quite audacious shift in focalisation at the half-way point, and a stunningly concise closing shot. On the other hand, it's emotionally bruising and takes its sweet time getting anywhere. It also asks much more of the viewer than your average Marvel movie, and some simply won't want to put in the legwork. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but if you consider cinema as entertainment only, I'd imagine Waves will leave you bored and frustrated. However, if you have the patience and are willing to take the journey on which the film wants to bring you, the cathartic rewards are many. In a middle-class suburb in Florida, Tyler Williams (a brilliant Kelvin Harrison Jr.) is a popular high school senior and skilled wrestler, who is deeply in love with his girlfriend Alexis Lopez (Alexa Demie). At home, he has a good relationship with his sister Emily (a heartbreakingly sweet Taylor Russell) and stepmother Catherine (Renée Elise Goldsberry). However, his relationship with his domineering father Ronald (a sternly intimidating Sterling K. Brown in full-on stare mode) is somewhat strained due to Ronald, himself a former athlete who was forced to retire due to a knee injury, constantly pushing him to succeed. As the film begins, Tyler's shoulder is causing him problems, and although he keeps it a secret, he soon learns he has a Level 5 SLAP tear, with his doctor telling him he'll need surgery and a few months off from wrestling, or the damage will become permanent. However, he ignores the doctor's advice, continuing to wrestle and starting to self-medicate with Ronald's painkillers. Meanwhile, he becomes increasingly acerbic and starts drinking heavily. At around the half-way point of the film, the focalisation then shifts to the shy and socially awkward Emily, looking at her burgeoning romance with Tyler's wrestling teammate Luke (a passive and pensive Lucas Hedges). Meanwhile, the Williams family must try to come to terms with a horrific act of violence that could change all of their lives. The most noticeable thing about Waves is the aesthetic audaciousness. What's especially interesting about the narrative bifurcation is that Emily barely appears in the first half and Tyler barely appears in the second, forcing the audience to completely recalibrate themselves vis-à-vis the film's milieu. However, for all its narrative gymnastics, it's Waves's visuals that really pop. Working with his regular cinematographer Drew Daniels, no matter how elaborate Shults's use of form becomes, it's always in service of the story, with the camera being used thematically rather than as a passive tool of observation. For example, the opening shot is inside a car occupied by Tyler and Alexis, but rather than shoot the scene in a shot/counter-shot format, Shults positions the camera between the duo, spinning in circles, and completing multiple 360-degree rotations. This immediately inculcates us into their sense of abandonment and exuberance. Before a single line of dialogue has been spoken, Shults has already started telling us who these people are. It's pure visual storytelling, showing rather telling. This kind of form/content correlation occurs throughout the film. For example, in the first half, which is focalised by the restless and propulsive Tyler, the handheld camera rarely stops moving, reflecting his frenetic energy. However, when we shift to the quieter and more withdrawn Emily, Shults uses more static tripod shots and a much slower editing rhythm, which reflects Emily's calmer disposition. He also has the palette reflect this shift - whereas the first half is awash in garish blues, reds, and greens, the second has a more naturalistic look. A crucial part of the film's visual identity is the very unusual use of aspect ratio(s). Beginning in 1.85:1, the frame gradually reduces in width until it gets to 1.33:1, which is how Tyler's section ends. Then, at the start of Emily's section, it starts to widen again, eventually reaching 2.35:1. The narrowing ratio of the first half reflects how Tyler feels he's being progressively trapped as things continue to go wrong, whilst the widening ratio of the second half reflects Emily's determination to recover from tragedy and reconcile her family. In short, the first half symbolises an ever-increasing restriction, the second half a gradually discovered freedom. And all of this is to say nothing of the diegetic lighting, the shot compositions and camera blocking, or the blending of Johnnie Burn's immersive sound design, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's discordant score, and the exceptional 32-song soundtrack. Thematically, the film looks at the pressure to succeed, particularly in men. Ronald equates masculinity with strength, mocks Catherine's job, and barely acknowledges Emily. Instead, he pours all his effort into Tyler, through whom he's trying to live vicariously, pushing him to be the successful athlete that he himself could have been before injury ended his career. He's also acutely aware that as an African-American man, things won't come easy to his son, telling Tyler, "we are not afforded the luxury of being average." However, Ronald is by no means the villain of the piece. He seems to genuinely feel that raising Tyler in this manner is the best thing, telling him, "I don't push you because I want to, I push you because I have to". The problem with all of this is that neither Tyler nor Ronald have a backup plan, so when things start to go wrong, Tyler immediately falls apart. And as things get worse and worse, he becomes a pseudo-Job figure, with the big difference being that Job was self-aware and understood his suffering. In terms of problems, there are a few blatantly expositionary scenes. An especially egregious example is the scene where Ronald outlines how hard it is for a black man to get ahead in the US, using that as justification for why he pushes Tyler so hard. Whilst the sentiments are fine, it doesn't ring true that this is the first time Ronald has said this to Tyler. Surely he would have given him this talk in his youth? It's a well-acted scene in isolation, but in the context of the overall script, it's too literal and seems out of place. Additionally, Shults tends to use the stuff of daytime soap to propel the plot - the end of a sports career, the prospect of having a child at such a young age, a family tragedy. The performers make the material work, but the film does come close to melodrama on occasion. Nevertheless, although it's initially bleak, looking at loss and disintegration, Waves ultimately reveals itself to be about the ability of love to conquer despair, about how life can persist no matter the circumstances, about the importance and restorative power of family. Shults uses this framework to build a quite audacious monument that celebrates the ordinary without ever overshadowing it.

Reviewed by Turfseer 2 / 10 / 10

Dynamic, kinetic look at domestic violence in the first half gives way to lugubrious meditation on loss in the second

Trey Edward Shults' certainly has come a long way since Krisha, his low budget debut in which he conscripted family members to craft a well received but rather one note meditation on a family outsider. But here with Waves, his universe has expanded exponentially, to the point where he's now grappling with headier themes including domestic violence and the emotional after effects of loss. The first half of Waves I think is much better than the second. We're introduced to an upper middle class African-American family living in South Florida. The main focus is on high school senior, Tyler Williams (played by Kevin Harrison Jr, who was so good in the recent "Luce"). Tyler's father Ronald (Sterling K. Brown) goes overboard in pushing his son to become a star wrestler. Soon a series of events cause Tyler to spiral out of control, leading to a terrible tragedy which not only affects the Williams family, but the entire community as well. Tyler's downward trajectory begins when he injures himself while wrestling and receives a dire prognosis from a doctor who informs him that his career as an athlete is over and he should undergo immediate surgery. Tyler can't stomach the doctor's grim prognosis and ends up continuing to compete in wrestling matches while in complete denial about this dire condition. It makes sense that he would have this attitude because his father has been pushing him to win at any cost. To make matters worse, Tyler's girlfriend Alexis informs him that she's pregnant and has decided not to have an abortion (after chickening out during a visit to an abortion clinic). Tyler doesn't want her to have the baby and they argue bitterly. After collapsing during a wrestling match, Tyler completely loses it after Alexis blocks him from texting or chatting on her cell phone. In a blind rage, he confronts her at a high school party and ends up striking her in the head, causing her death. Shults utilizes a heart-pounding score, mixing both electronic and rap music, to chronicle Tyler's meltdown. It's a visceral experience, akin to watching some of the better music videos which grab you from the start. This is precisely how tragedies occur particularly involving teenagers and domestic violence and Shults is completely on the mark, showing how such sad events basically go down. This part of the film reaches its climax when Tyler is sentenced to 30 to Life. Except for a brief shot of Tyler now as an inmate at film's end, he's no longer part of the story. Shults shifts to Tyler's sister Emily (Taylor Russell) and follows her as she tries to cope with her feelings of rage toward her brother as well as dealing with the now imperiled relationship between her father and stepmother Catharine (Renée Elise Goldsberry) who blames her Dad for driving Tyler to commit his insane act. Emily also blames herself for not stopping Tyler from killing Alexis, as she was there when Tyler showed up at the party. Emily begins to heal when she gets involved with Luke (Lucas Hedges), who also must cope with the imminent loss of his estranged father, now dying of cancer. Encouraging Luke to go and see his dying father helps her to realize that only through forgiveness can true healing take place. It's a heartfelt sentiment, but Shults drags out the relationship between the new lovers, to the point of tediousness. Unfortunately Emily and Luke are not very interesting characters and there's not enough conflict between them to keep our interest. There are a few sparks between Ronald and Catharine, who now wants nothing to do with him due to the previously alluded to pressure he placed on Tyler growing up. They of course have to find "the road back" too and rather predictably they do, at film's end. All the while, there is little opportunity for character development. Ultimately Stults is much more attuned to emotional beats than a narrative that appeals to the intellect. Some may find his exploration of how people cope with loss to be quite satisfying but others such as myself don't have the patience to sit through the lugubrious pacing. What's more, characters end up being defined by one external situation (Alexis' murder) and don't develop organically. Simply put, Waves is melodrama incarnate. For some, all the angst may be cathartic but aside from the neat, kinetic machinations up to the midpoint, much of what we see next has been done before and is a bit disappointing. Stults should reflect on this effort as another learning experience. What worked so well in the first half was the fact that his story was fraught with conflict. In the second half, most of the conflict dried up; in its place was the rather predictable optimistic resolution of characters overcoming loss (Emily even visits her incarcerated brother at film's end!). Fledgling filmmakers still need something more unique and less predictable if they plan to make their mark in the world of cinema.

Reviewed by Films_McGee 2 / 10 / 10

If only they were as good at making films as writing reviews...

...as it seems the whole cast and crew has been giving this stupidly high scores. But the story is long and boring, nothing happens most of the time, it's just filled with pretentious shots and people sticking their heads out of a moving vehicle. The film does start off quite interesting and there could been some potential. But after 30 mins it just goes downhill fast (2/10) The second part of the film is not worth watching (0/10) It isn't emotional, as you never form any connection with the characters. One of the main character isn't even likeable and I've totally no sympathy for what happens to him.

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