Employing an abrasive soundtrack, the storytelling and formalist designs feel secondary in Trey Edward Shult's Waves, with the film feeling more like an album featuring visual schematics than any sort of cohesive piece of filmmaking. Woefully over-directed and bordering on overwrought from the very beginning, Waves is a film in which the characters feel like nothing but props for narrative intentions, empty vessels which emote aggressively but lack any semblance of emotional intimacy or complexity, particularly in the film's first half. After a major moment in the narrative, which occurs about halfway through the film, Waves does adjust and even finds its rhythm in certain ways, with the emotional beats, the intimacy of the characters struggles feeling far more fluid, dynamic, and genuine, not feeling scripted with the intent of performative or provocative dramatics like the film's first half. The film's back-half simply feels more observational and intelligent, exploring the vicissitudes of grief and the complexities of human emotion in a way that manages to be far more effective, despite the director's over-direction and uninspired panache. Overall, the film is a formalist mess, one which tries to be everything while being nothing - a music album set to visual rhythms which at times offer moments of poignancy and humanistic truths, moments that are sporadic and almost feel almost there in spite of the film's over-stylized formalist designs.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.