A moment in time (Waves, 2019), by Trey Edward Shults – Review

Waves it is a shocking drama, which deals with the dynamics of a family and relationships; It is written and directed by Trey Edward Shults (Arrives at night, 2017).

One of the most striking elements is music, which never leaves the viewer. It is essential in the first part of the film, it not only builds its own language but is the protagonist and expresses as much as the actors. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Oscar winners for The social network (2010), are the creators of this BSO.

The film gives so much importance to the montage that it mixes types of frames, sometimes jumping between 16: 9 and 4: 3, choosing the latter for moments of impact. The brevity in the dialogues is also innovative, allowing actions to express more than words; or the diffusion of planes, choosing colors such as yellow, red or purple to travel between one scene and another.

It is a common story, unfortunately, told from the family nucleus of the culprit. The first part focuses on the difficulties Tyler goes through in his last year of high school. And the second in the passage of her little sister, Emily, for the same course, surviving the acts of her brother. It also draws in some sequence a certain social criticism about the normalization of racism, being more decorated, context or background.

The parents, Ronald and Catherine, are the characters common to both stories and are also affected by the acts of their children. Also striking is the treatment given to marriage, deepening them more deeply in the second half, a more delicate, slow and emotional part. While Tyler's story is quick, violent and visceral.

Claim not to comply with the obligations – work, home, husband – because sometimes it is more heroic to recognize that you are giving up.

Alexis (Alexa Demie, Euphoria, 2019) has an important role as Tyler's girlfriend and makes a decision opposite to what was expected. In addition, around it are ranges of reds and violets. This expression has its climax in the final scene of the first part, that descent in slow motion down the stairs with lights and red costumes as a kind of descent into hell.

A common language also in both parts of the movie are the scenes by car, where the camera turns on itself inside the cabin to show the driver and passenger. There are three moments narrated in this key, two show the behavior of two couples – with a clear contrast – and the other is a discussion between Tyler and Alexis with an epic interpretation.

There are several powerful messages in Waves, as the woman has the last decision on her body, until she is deprived of it through violence. That he can choose the opposite of what is expected and that he has the right to be contradictory and incoherent, to refuse despite having previously accepted.

Catherine's character also expresses that maternal desire to love children, despite their mistakes. In addition, claim not to comply with the obligations – work, home, husband – because sometimes it is more heroic to recognize that you are giving up.


Synopsis Two young couples navigate through the emotional minefield that involves maturing and falling in love for the first time.
Script Trey Edward Shults
Address Trey Edward Shults
country U.S
Distribution Sterling K. Brown, Alexa Demie, Clifton Collins Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Kelvin Harrison Jr., David Garelik, Elisa Lau
Gender Drama
Duration 135 min.
Original title Waves
Premiere 01/31/2020

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