Pacing. It’s the first thing I look at when judging a movie (as some of the other folks here relentlessly mock me for), and at first glance I figured this movie could learn at little lesson in it. Clocking in around an hour and twenty minutes, The wave seldom takes a break from its breakneck pace. On my second viewing of it I realized that this is possibly by design, however I’m still not entirely convinced (it takes only about 8 minutes to introduce the main two characters and fills in a shit tonne of blanks in the process).
Justin Long and Donald Faison star as Frank and Jeff, two work colleagues out on an adventure after recent success at work. They Meet Theresa and Natalie, go to a party, and shit hits the fan shortly after.
A word of warning: The Wave is filled with such high energy that if you have social anxiety, you might actually get triggered in the first few minutes.
At end of the run-time, the plot does enough to be memorable, yet if you need to take a bathroom break at any point you’ll definitely lose it. One thing that’s handled quite well is the notion of a non-linear plot being used as a physical device. Frank has no idea why things are progressing as they are until the very end of the movie, something that results in a nice little twist that is pleasantly difficult to foresee.
Visual and Sound Production
I’m not totally sure how I feel about the virtual effects in this movie. There are entire scenes that are so overdone that it feels like they just put some crazy-ass HDR filter on the shot. Other parts absolutely stunning. It probably isn’t a coincidence that the best parts of this hectic-as-fuck movie are when it decides to actually take a moment to calm down.
The cinematography of this film literally shines. Framing and lighting are some of the best from a lower budget movie that I’ve seen in ages. Whoever was responsible for this deserves a raise (although there are definitely a few moments where you get some of those massive CG flares that take away from this).
The soundtrack hits pretty hard and definitely fits the atmosphere, its punchy, noisy and usually fits the pace of the film.
This movie hard-cuts from scene to scene like several well-known movies from the early 2000s. This plays into the fast pacing of the movie as a whole. While it gets overused to the point of frustration at times, it seems to play into the narrative as a whole. As much as this manic frustration occurred during my first viewing, on my second I could really tell that this movie was produced with care and intent.
Overall thoughts and score
If you’ve seen movies like Trainspotting, Crank and maybe even Groundhog Day, you’ll probably feel that this movie is kind of a weird mashup of elements of all three (with maybe a little bit of fight club mixed in). Overall, it’s worth a watch if you’re into the whole “let’s pretend like we’re on one big acid trip” sub-genre of movie. Otherwise, while you wont feel like your time is wasted, although you might still find yourself a little confused. The wave definitely accomplishes what it sets out to do.
Score: 7 / 10, losing points for the total shit-storm that is the first 10 minutes (It really could’ve been extended).
The Wave hits select theaters Jan 17th, and will be on Video on Demand the same day.
As an aside, there’s a scene early on featuring a movie within the movie. Turns out its an actual movie called Fender Bender. I’m planning on checking it out at one point so look for a review on that one in the future.