The Wave is like The Hangover mixed with Crank on psychedelic drugs. A movie about trying to figure out how and why things happened and how and why things are happening. There were about a dozen times while watching this movie where I audibly asked, “what the hell is going on?” There’s never a dull moment here and I was hooked the entire time.
Insurance lawyer Frank (Justin Long) is a working stiff living an unadventurous life with his office job, his wife, and his suburban life-style. When Frank makes a huge discovery in an insurance claim that will all but guarantee him the biggest promotion of his life, he decides to let loose a little bit and go out with his co-worker Jeff (Donald Faison). While out, they meet two women, Theresa (Sheila Vand) and Natalie (Katia Winter), who take the guys from the bar to a house party. At the house party, Frank and Theresa take a mysterious drug that causes Frank to blackout. He wakes up to an empty trashed house, no wallet, and no idea what happened last night. Rushing to get to his promotion meeting, Frank realizes the drug is still in his system, as he experiences a number of time-altering trips that make him think differently about his life and reality.
What starts out as a relatively normal movie about someone partying too hard the night before the biggest meeting of their career, a genre we’ve seen numerous times, turns into one of the trippiest movies I have seen in a long time. This is a movie that looks at the construction of time and how it changes a man to change the way he thinks about everything he thought he knew. Director Gille Klabin makes this movie anything but conventional, never giving us a real answer as to why the things that happen to Frank really happen or how they happen, but just letting it all happen. As Jeff says to Frank towards the end of the film, “I need you to sort this out. I need you to explain this to me.” That’s one of the best parts about The Wave; it never sorts itself out and it has you guessing the whole time.
The Wave is a movie I wish I was able to see on the big screen (the Chattanooga Film Festival is a streaming film festival this year, thanks to COVID-19). The sequences where Frank trips and his hallucinogenic dreams are visually stunning. I also wish I was able to see this with theater-quality surround sound to see how Klabin played with sound during Frank’s trips. These sequences were awesome.
The Wave is an absolute trip. It’s a non-stop thrill ride that will have your head spinning and your heart racing.
The Wave played in the FEATURES category of the Chattanooga Film Festival.
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