Gille Klabin’s directorial debut, The Wave is a hypnotic tale with a sporadic timeline and a dark comedic tone. While this is the first feature he’s has directed, Klabin has previously directed some television episodes and worked as a camera operator on The Refugee (2018). In terms of this being a directorial debut, this film shows promise with his skills as a director. Everything looks cohesive and the visuals fit the story well, making this film very easy to watch.
The film focuses on a lawyer named Frank (Justin Long) who has become bored with his life. To add some excitement to his life, he goes to a party and ends up taking a hallucinogenic drug which sends him into a long and confusing trip. He is then forced to relive certain events that take place and to “fix” all of the trouble he has caused. All the while, he is searching for Theresa (Shelia Vand) a woman he met the night before and became infatuated with. She has also taken said hallucinogenic, which worries her friend Natalie (Katia Winter), who then goes along with Frank to find her. What follows, is a lighthearted and engaging film that serves as a good distraction if you’re having a bad week.
While The Wave is a fun trip, there are definitely some flaws present. Unfortunately, while the ride is fun, the film stops dead at a predictable ending. The timeline – although expected as it represents Frank’s mind under the influence – is all over the place and somewhat confusing. This causes the film to be overrun by loose ends that don’t seem to get tied up by the end of Frank’s journey. However, the point of the film is supposed to be that protagonist goes through character development and epiphanies due to the trip he is on, but it doesn’t completely deliver on this theme.
Portraying hallucinogenic drugs in film has been taken in a lot of different directions by various filmmakers, but Klabin’s approach is vibrant and visually appealing. He utilizing colors which then weave in with the score to make you feel like you’re on the trip with Frank. There’s nothing exceptionally bad about the film, but the story doesn’t leave much room for the film to be anything but mediocre. It’s definitely watchable, and it does keep your attention, but it doesn’t accomplish much more than that. Most of the characters are unlikable, but Justin Long gives a good performance, which is unfortunately hindered by a constricting script.
The Wave is a film that we’ve all seen before: An unlikable character (with just enough humanity to be empathized with) realizes by some epiphany (in this case, a drug-induced one) that they’re a bad person and decides to change it. In the case of this film, the familiar plot is intertwined with dark comedy and more than a few loose ends, that in the end to nothing to propel The Wave into excellency. All in all, the film is an intriguing trip, but lacks cohesiveness and originality.