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Exit Survey: ‘Waves’

waves exit survey

“Waves” is the latest hit from A24, and the Inside The Film Room staff got an early look at the film at Film Fest 919.

Tweet-length review

Zach Goins: “Waves” is a visceral experience. Some of the most immersive directing and camera work I’ve seen this year. The first act is fun and chaotic before a deeply personal, heart wrenching second act. And those colors! One of the year’s most beautiful films — visually and narratively.

David Sobczak: “Waves” – Another stunner from A24. Freakishly kinetic and emotionally devastating, featuring the best cinematography of 2019 and a bravura ensemble performance. Go in knowing as little as possible, and it’ll lay you out flat. Also has one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard.

Josh Martin: “Waves” – For better and worse, Trey Edward Shults is high on his own supply here — this is a filmmaker with a clear voice, delivering maximum sensory and emotional overload. It’s a powerful work, but also a long, deliberately unpleasant road to reach a catharsis.

Favorite Scene

ZG: There are so many moments in “Waves” that could qualify for this, but the very best was Sterling K. Brown and Taylor Russell finally reconnecting by the lake. So raw and real.

DS: The nerve-shredding and gut-wrenching party sequence.

JM: I love the film’s tender moments the most, so I’ll have to go with the meet-cute between Lucas Hedges’ Luke and Taylor Russell’s Emily.

Biggest Surprise

ZG: The whole second half. So much happened during the film’s first 70 or so minutes that it felt like an entire film on its own. For such a climax to occur and still have another hour left was a huge surprise, but incredibly rewarding.

DS: The split narrative.

JM: The tragic incident at the halfway mark.

What You Wanted More/Less Of

ZG: As much as Trey Edward Shults fully explores the lives of each family member, it would have been nice to see a little more development of Alexa Demie’s Alexis – and her family as they cope with the aftermath.

DS: A little more depth given to Tyler’s girlfriend, Alexis.

JM: “Waves” piles on the trauma so intensely that it becomes difficult to believe the emotional stakes at times. Shults is talented, but some restraint could go a long way.

Grade out of 100

ZG: 91 out of 100

DS: 95 out of 100

JM: 80 out of 100

Stay tuned for more reviews and exit survey’s from Film Fest 919 all week long. 

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Zach Goins View All

Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for

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