Review by Mr. Will Wong
Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) seems to be on the verge of greatness under the persistent urging of his father (Sterling K. Brown). While everything seems fine initially, things take a drastic turn for the worse after his girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie) finds out she is pregnant with his child and his world crumbles. In the face of a tragedy, which threatens to tear Tyler’s family apart, his father, mother (Renée Elise Goldberry) and sister (Taylor Russell) are left to pick-up the pieces and find themselves again.
Filmmaker Trey Edward Shults’ (Krisha, It Comes at Night) hits you like a tidal wave in its first act but calms into a ripples in the second. While dialogue is sparse and the Film takes a nuanced tone, this is where Waves finds its flow in its meditation on grief.
Harrison delivers pure intensity in a performance which solified him a TIFF ‘19 Rising Star, while Russell shows a quiet maturity in her ability to express a deep undercurrent of emotion with little dialogue. Shults gets the honour of a Score by Academy Award winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross which intensifies the Film. Drew Daniels‘ Cinematography is breathtaking, whether it be his gorgeous captures of the Florida waters or çloseups that bring us up-close and intimate to these characters, particularly Harrison in his panic.
While Waves’ unevenness might not be for all, it is an ambitious effort even if it asks for your patience. It screens at TIFF Tue, Sep 10 at Ryerson Theatre, 8:45pm, Wed, Sep 11, Scotiabank Theatre, 6pm and Sun, Sep 15 at Ryerson Theatre, 2:45pm.