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Waves is a Masterclass in Filmmaking That Productively Speaks to This Generation

Waves is a hypnotically accurate reflection of the internal quarrels that are occurring among teenagers in this generation. Through some scarring examples and uplifting morals, the venturesome movie is able to validate itself as the artistic piece that 2019 desperately needed. Like what Trey Edward Shults did to the zombie genre in It Comes at Night—recalculate the execution of the redundant genre while concluding it in an unpredictable approach—he does for the drama genre in Waves. Shults’s third feature-length is a memo that impressively manages to explicitly let us in on the old “love vs hate” themes of life but through a more modern and updated angle. Evident in Waves’ standout quote, “love covers up all offenses,” the film dreams of genuinely teaching viewers to recollect these optimistic ideologies—especially during this modern era of unrestrained self-hatred. 

Trey Edward Shults is not just a director to “look out for in the future,”—a quote many critics excessively enjoy labeling countless competent filmmakers today—he’s honestly already become an auteur at this point. Shults leisurely pulls trippy cinematic tricks out from underneath his clever little brain as if he was the Orson Welles of this decade. From his articulately spacious directing and camerawork techniques that are reminiscent of the way Terrence Malick produces his more recent features—but in a significantly more fruitful and energetic manner—to his persuasive and currently applicable social agendas, the dude simultaneously advances moviemaking etiquette while also inventing a pivotal movement for the community that he wants to aid.

Shults once again, proves that he is a man that can coax high-end tension, considering nearly the entirety of the first two acts of Waves’ are disturbingly fraught. The colorful transitions are sedative yet appropriate. The cinematography is quite dreamy and almost faultless in its color grading. The soundtrack is absolutely brilliant. From talents like Kendrick Lamar to Amy Winehouse, to Tyler the Creator, and to RADIOHEAD, it’s crystal clear that whoever constructed this musical playlist ought to be given a raise!

I have but only two flaws with Waves. Around 15-20 minutes of the third act of the film certainly could’ve been cut out to benefit the pacing of the picture. And, despite the soundtrack being as delightful as it is, it’s overused in this final portion as well. Other than that though, there’s virtually nothing to dislike in this A24 wonder.

Waves is one of those infrequent cinematic experiences where I wish everybody in the whole entire world would seek out. Not because it’s just a stunning movie in of its own, but primarily because I believe that modern society would be a better place if we all had something as awakening as this hit us upside the head. It’s time to get peachier people.

Verdict: A-

A24 Ranked, 2019 Ranked

“Waves” is now playing in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York, and will be released in select theaters across the U.S. on November 22, 2019.

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