Updated: Jan 9, 2020
Directed by: #RobHurtt
Wave, directed by Rob Hurtt, is a film that leaves you confused and unsettled as to what you have just witnessed. In the course of 8 minutes, the film offers little in the way of substance, script or sense – yet leaves you with a shred of charm in an otherwise nonsensical piece.
Wave follows the “story” (a word used somewhat liberally) of the Pringle family, who live a quiet life by the ocean. As night falls, the family is visited by a creature called “Slimy” (Paul O’Shea), who they welcome into their home.
Hurtt, having both written and directed the film, has seemingly made one fatal mistake; his inability to grasp that anyone, except him, could have absolutely no idea what they are watching. The directing reflects this, most notably in the removal of dialogue from the film. Throughout the world of cinema, there are almost countless examples of how the removal of dialogue can not only make a film make sense, but deepen the appeal and enjoyment of the film. Wave sits at the other end of the spectrum to this. A series of almost laughable and slapstick grunts and noises, with the one piece of dialogue almost forced in, not only increases the absurdity of the piece, but completely undermines any semblance of integrity or meaning the film may have held.
Such weak direction and delivery naturally transfer into the acting; though it would be harsh to criticise the performance of any actor in such a film. The family patriarch (Daniel Taylor) delivers his role in an exaggerated and farcical way that inspires both laughter and pity. Joy Sanders, tasked with playing a concerned and protective mother, is bound by the direction into little more than grunts and harsh stares. It’s almost a miracle that Paul O’Shea (Slimy) doesn’t burst into fits of laughter during the film, let alone the rest of the cast.
The score does little to relieve this. The constant slow crashing of the waves, or ticking of a clock as the cast sit in silence, seems designed to convey the slow and relaxed pace of the Pringle life. All this artistic decision achieves is to remind you of every second you watch the film, and makes 8 minutes stretch to a lifetime.
That being said, Wave delivers an almost indefinable charm that stays with you, long after the longest 8 minutes of your life. The filming style, using a series of close ups and filmed in a small frame, gives Wave a certain character as if plucked straight from the 1970’s. The slapstick delivery, excellent usage of sets and the fortunate soothing of the waves in the background endears you to the film; in the same way one would be charmed by the calamity of a Tommy Wiseau film.
For a film that offers charm while failing to deliver anything else, look no further than Wave. For a film that delivers a coherent script, a clear message or an idea of what it is you are actually watching, look anywhere else.