(Kelvin Harrison Jr, Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, Sterling K. Brown, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2020 / LGF)
Overview: Tyler is a high school wrestler on the verge of a full college scholarship under tremendous pressure from his domineering father (Golden Globe® winner Sterling K. Brown).
When Tyler is pushed to the brink, his actions threaten to tear his close-knit family apart, deeply affecting his younger sister, who is navigating her own path of growing up and falling in love.
Blu-ray Verdict: '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 and sound editing is notably well done, with visuals and colors that reflect character and 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 and 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 and 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. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Trey Edward Shults and Actor Kelvin Harrison, Jr.
• “Creating Waves: The Truth in It All” Featurette
• Q&A with Director and Cast
• Deleted Scenes
Amazon 'Waves' Blu-ray+Digital Purchase Link
Official 'Waves' Trailer