Undoubtedly his most bold and ambitious film to date. Director Trey Edward Shults (It Comes at Night) new film Waves, oozes creativity and emotion in equal measure. While embracing its audience in a kaleidoscope of colour, sound and movement. Ensuring each person watching feels a part of the action on screen. In a sweeping family drama that not only creates moments of devastating emotion, but also manages to sing with scenes of youthful joy.
Focussing on a single year in the life of the Williams, a middle class black American family. Waves is split into two distinct halves, the first focusing on the life of Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). And the second on his younger sister Emily (Taylor Russell). While the lives of their loving stepmother (Renee Elise Goldsberry) and stern but loving father (Sterling K. Brown) circle both acts.
Our story opens with Tyler, a young and highly gifted student, who loves sport and music in equal measure. His father pushing him to become the best athlete and man he can be. Their father and son relationship embodying both a strained and loving dynamic. As toxic masculinity rubs up against the need of a father to ensure his son escapes the trappings of discrimination inherent in American society.
However, as Tylers life spins out of control through injury and relationship problems with his girlfriend (Alexa Demie). He finds himself unable to speak to his family, trapped in his own spiralling despair. With the waves of his anger and lack of connectivity crashing up against an unsuspecting family. The ripples circling each family member as family life changes in the course of one explosive night. Leading to the second act as we follow his younger sister through the emotional rubble and pain of her brothers actions.
Shults dovetails the emotional themes of adolescence found in the coming of age genre, with a far more nuanced discussion on diversity and oppression. Ultimately creating a similar dynamic to Barry Jenkins Moonlight in the films narrative construct. While equally finding its own voice in devastating emotional turbulence and calm reflection and reconciliation.
Director: Trey Edward Shults