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Waimea short film review

Updated: Oct 15, 2021


Directed by: #SteveHerold

Written by: Steve Herold and #JamesLPalmer


Poster for film, showing main characters Rick and Vivian in black and white, a vertical orange bar split between their faces. Within the bar, the tagline reads "every couple has problems to tackle"

I love the tonal misdirect that opens Waimea, we begin in black and white as the main character Rick goes from one foreboding location to the next. Hospital, funeral parlour, edge of a pier, it is clear he’s not having the best day, added up by the sombre look on his wife Vivian’s face when he arrives home with melancholy music playing over the whole sequence. After a conversation with the neighbours implying tragic news, the couple goes inside their home, and as Rick goes to speak Vivian punches him straight in the jaw. From that point on, all bets are off as Waimea reveals itself as a sweet little screwball comedy about beating the crap out of the love of your life.

The catalyst to all this being that Rick after a drunken bender celebrating their ten million dollar lottery win can’t seem to remember where he hid the ticket the next day thus prompting Vivian to take a more “physical” approach to jog his memory. While the filmmaking of these hilarious fight sequences can be clunky in places, Herold’s direction and terrific editing (differentiated by the editor’s credit of Burt Oregano) easily win you over. Great visual connective cuts marry the past to the present, my favourite being past Rick falling asleep on the pavement drunk; then cutting to present Rick lying on the kitchen floor, clearly having been struck in the face by the shattered keyboard beside him. Through these little moments past and present, we get the sense Rick and Vivian have that standard sitcom formula marriage; he’s a clumsy oaf, and she’s the long-suffering brains of the operation but they do genuinely care about each other.

Both Kevin Kolack as Rick and Patricia Damon as Vivian are having a blast in their roles, they may not be the most realistic characters but their enthusiasm in the action and comedy is a treat to watch. They are the key to selling Herold’s screwball cartoon tone as the wackiness never stops, but the two maintain a sentimental through-line that keeps the film from going off the rails. Exemplified by the use of colour in flashbacks and black and white in the present, typically a creative choice that is done in reverse. Herold and cinematographer John Mastriano visually display how Rick and Vivian are moving in the wrong direction, while all the pieces of past and present add to the whimsical riot of Waimea there’s this extra layer on how these two characters need to find their right path again.

That way back though looks pretty peculiar though as the final minutes roll out a sequence of Rick and Vivian reaffirming their love for one another in the middle of a brawl with a wealthy gentleman dressed just like the Monopoly Man. Looking back, I’m surprised Herold held back in having Batman “POW” effects or cartoon birds flying around Rick’s head as Waimea becomes so delightfully goofy by the end. Strange and short but not without its charm, there's some awkward execution but plenty of moments to this sweet screwball comedy that will have you laugh out loud.



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