Gille Klabin’s The Wave. Where to begin? Justin Long plays Frank, an introverted lawyer playing by a set of rules he perceives to be a means to survive, rather than a means to enjoy life. With a long awaited promotion seemingly about to come his way, a night of pre celebratory shenanigans turns into a trip he can’t come down from after a mystery hallucinogenic drug is introduced to him.
Any preconceived notion of what his everyday is is thrown out the window, dissolving into nothing more than a faded memory. Operating in a similar thematic space to that of the recent Under The Silver Lake, rather than exploring if there is even a point to anything, The Wave shows it a different side of the coin. Instead, Frank wanders around the familiarity of his life, only to see it has been a completely disillusioned existence. Slipping and sliding through the morally gray cracks of his profession, his newly found gaze on life is a grimly obtuse reality check.
Blending practical effects with a fascinating experimentation of VFX splendor, Klabin and his crew do everything they can to warp, contort and dissect any semblance of feeling relative time. When the nastier elements of Frank’s psyche come to life, this is when The Wave truly hits it stride as a coked up ride through Hell’s suburbs. Of course, not all this would be possible if it wasn’t for Justin Long’s compelling performance as madness takes over. Whilst I’ve been used to seeing him largely play the slacker-nice guy role over the years, it is refreshing to Long tackle a role with a lot of breathing space to explore (thanks to Carl W. Lucas off kilter script).
Wading through muddy waters of ethical trouble, Klabin not only reassess Frank’s priorities but the role he and multiple others play in the progression of rightful justice (be that emotionally or professionally). Frank’s upcoming promotion will lead him down a path of unjust action to complete strangers, with his peers unable to even bat an eyelid in the wake of their decisions. Whether it’s his close friend Jeff (Donald Faison) or mysterious love interest Theresa (Sheila Vand) presenting some form of a (false) positive in his life, Frank’s part to play in everything slowly unravels. It might just be a profound one too.
The Wave joins my personal ranks of tripped out odysseys of carnage (Limitless comes to mind first). Supported by truly exhilarating VFX work, Gille Klabin knocks it out of the park with a wonderfully original vision on the re-examination of self worth and destiny.
Directed by: Gille Klabin
Written by: Carl W. Lucas
Cast: Justin Long, Tommy Flanagan, Katia Winter, Donald Faison