Director: Gille Klabin
Cast: Justin Long, Donald Faison, Sheila Vand
Release Date: February 11, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
Frank (Justin Long), an opportunistic insurance lawyer, thinks he’s in for the time of his life when he goes out on the town to celebrate an upcoming promotion with his co-worker, Jeff. But their night takes a turn for the bizarre when Frank is dosed with a hallucinogen that completely alters his perception of the world, taking him on a psychedelic quest through board meetings, nightclubs, shootouts, and alternate dimensions. As Frank ping-pongs between reality and fantasy, he finds himself on a mission to find a missing girl, himself… and his wallet.
‘The Wave’ tells the mind-twisting tale of cold-blooded insurance lawyer Frank (Long) who after a night of partying and the questionable choice of taking an unknown drug from a curious stranger finds himself thrust into an increasingly twisted, psychedelic drug trip that only seems to get more extreme as the hours ween on as opposed to wearing off. Unable to merely wait it out on what is additionally one of the most crucial days of his career, Frank finds himself seemingly thrust throughout time and even reality as he struggles to discern fact from fiction and get answers, while simultaneously trying to keep his life from falling apart in the process.
Directed by Gille Klabin from a screenplay by Carl W. Lucas (Illegal), Klabin does a great job at the helm of ‘The Wave’ carefully guiding along the twists, turns and out of reality happenings to its rewarding conclusion and offering an impressive feature length directorial debut; almost surely a filmmaker whose career would be worth keeping an eye on. The film also features a cast that’s comprised of some familiar faces and a few lesser known individuals, including Justin Long (Live Free Or Die Hard), Donald Faison (TV’s Scrubs), Sheila Vand (Triple Frontier), Katia Winter (TV’s Sleepy Hollow), Bill Sage (We Are What We Are), Tommy Flanagan (TV’s Sons of Anarchy) and more, with the majority delivering generally capable and solid performances for the most part in each of their respective roles; Long in particular doing a great job in the lead and clearly diving full force into the role which really helps this strange little gem to work so well.
‘The Wave’ is a mind-warping, somewhat humorous and generally peculiar film that sends viewers on a drug-fueled and fantasy-like adventure filled with twists, turns and questions each to be revealed through one man’s eyes. As he seeks for clarification and a hold on reality after an unknown drug sends him on a long-lasting psychedelic trip that only gets more dangerous and confusing as it overtakes him, he begins spiraling on what is also one of the biggest days of his life. Director Gille Klabin delivers a noteworthy feature-length directorial debut here, consistently guiding the psychedelic happenings along beautifully and his capable work at the helm combined with a dedicated and quite solid performance from Justin Long helps ‘The Wave’ to become far more than you might expect along its course. For those who usually enjoy a peculiar and mind-twisting film with no shortage of odd bits and drug-fueled chaos to offer, I would definitely encourage trying to give ‘The Wave’ a whirl whenever convenient. It’s a surprisingly engaging, peculiar and even touching ride that may not quite manage to reach absolute perfection, but certainly finds its way to impressive when this offbeat fantasy-like tale is allowed time to find its way. Regardless of how it may first appear, it has a plan and it does in fact get there, merely allowing the audience to join in on the chaos and drug-induced mindset of our lead character and accompany him for the ride in a similar state of understanding (or lack thereof).
Overall, ‘The Wave’ is a peculiar and psychedelic drug trip of a film that forms into a splendidly strange and endearing tale of one man’s quest for answers and clarification that manages to allow the audience to experience the journey in a mindset almost similar to his own courtesy of the over the top visuals and random jumps between reality and imagination (or drug-induced visualizations). ‘The Wave’ is definitely recommended, particularly for those who tend to appreciate a mind-warping and drug fueled film that’s anything but conventional, yet quite rewarding in its entirety. For anyone even the slightest bit intrigued by this strange, yet endearing little film it should stand a pretty good chance of at least proving well worth ninety minutes of your time and the price of a rental if nothing else.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Wave’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite spectacular as a whole and provides a sharp, smooth and vibrantly detailed presentation throughout, with no notable faults or issues to be uncovered along the way. It captures the fantasy-like visions and sequences without missing a beat and even holds up remarkably well during the darkly lit and fast moving moments, never causing anything occurring onscreen to ever become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that delivers across the board and should easily please fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossy 5.1 channel 448 kbps Dolby Digital soundtrack. While it’s admittedly always somewhat disappointing to see lossy sound presentations on Blu-ray instead of a lossless offering, this multichannel soundtrack still does a remarkable job of delivering the goods and serves up a fairly smooth and clean audio presentation throughout that never hesitates to get aggressive. It frequently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, creepy sound effects, dialogue and other fitting content throughout the various speakers quite regularly, and in full force often enough (particularly in the more surreal moments of this drug-fueled trip) while never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this a rather impressive 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack that repeatedly complements the onscreen craziness in a big way and should still please the masses for the most part.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Wave’ includes a few solid extras that fans of the film should enjoy. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Gille Klabin and Writer Carl W. Lucas’, in addition to a ‘Gag Reel’ (running approximately 4 minutes in length) and some brief peeks behind the scenes with an ‘Animatics Comparison’ (running approximately 1 minute), a ‘VFX Breakdown’ (approximately 30 seconds) and a look at creating ‘The Car Hit’ (40 seconds). Also included are the ‘Teaser’ (1 minute) and full ‘Trailer’ (2 minutes) for the film.