starring Kelvin Harrison Jr, Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Sterling K. Brown
written and directed by Trey Edward Shults
by Walter Chaw The first thing I'd say about Trey Edward Shults's Waves is that I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea that this is his story to tell. The tale of the devastation wrought upon a black family by internal and external social pressures is at once obvious in a broad racial sense and relatively superficial in Shults's treatment of it. Narratively, there are no new insights here, although a tremendous cast exhibits truth and grace no matter the shakiness of the picture's framework and genesis. Well into the second decade of the new millennia, however, I guess I'm advocating for stories like this to be told from a different point of view. Failing that, Waves is ultimately a Stanley Kramer melodrama with a banging, transcendent Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross soundtrack/score. It has the best of intentions, no question, but I've seen this story told in this voice before.