It reminded me a lot of The Place Between the Pines - not just the structural similarity, but also a filmmaker going all in on a serious melodrama that isn’t as emotional or profound as they hope it is.
I do admire the presentation here. It’s sweeping, in-your-face and audacious - don’t ever recall seeing quite so many overt aspect ratio changes in a film before. It’s Malickian by way of Moonlight (although not up to the very high standards of those lofty inspirations), and full of impressive, expressive visual choices and needle drops (original and borrowed). The structure itself is a thing to behold, like a wave itself with crests and troughs. Emotions and images echo and recur to interesting effect. The shape of the screen - Spoiler: the full-screen euphoria of the opening to the narrow, restrictive 4:3 when things go badly wrong - is a key element in how the film communicates itself.
The story underneath it all is at its best when Shults and Daniels let the images do the talking. But it’s straightforward family drama stuff even with Spoiler: the shift in perspective after the mid-film tragedy. Couldn’t help feeling it was the easy way through the material, though, and it was easy enough to have a good idea what was going to happen from very early on. Predictability isn’t enough to kill a film, but Waves just sort of fizzles out when it really needs to be crashing into the shore. It’s shallow storytelling that can appeal to the senses for sure, but doesn’t have much else going on.
Last edited by johnny_ultimate; 09-01-2020 at 00:24.