Waves review – high-school sports star wrestles with emotion | Peter Bradshaw’s film of the week

Trey Edward Shults’ heartfelt redemption parable takes an unexpected route through the story of a teenager’s struggles at home and in classAfter disturbing us all with survivalist thriller It Comes at Night in 2017, Texan film-maker Trey Edward Shults – still just 31 – steps up his already impressive game with this vehemently acted and formally audacious drama about an African American family in Miami.

It is a parable of redemption, and about a kind of spiritual or metaphysical resonance between the unhappy lives of two siblings.At film festivals worldwide, Waves has already been much praised for an experimental, anti-narrative approach and a supposed privileging of vignettes, scenes and moods over regular storytelling.

Actually, this is misleading.

The movie is perfectly legible in conventional linear terms.

But where it goes, how it gets there and how it comes back again, is more unexpected.

There is a wonderful score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

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