Well: We did it. We talked to each other three times, once for each of his films. Our hit rate is 100%. That’s a hell of a batting average. I didn’t say this to Trey over the phone, but as the Joker told Batman, I think he and I are destined to do this forever.
I liked Waves. I think Waves deserves an audience. I do think the film needed to take one more pause in its first hour to catch some air; Shults takes his Malick-influenced style* to an aggressive rollercoaster level, inhabiting his lead character, Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), to such an extreme that the emotional tour through Tyler’s mind verges on “theme park ride.” I don’t think this is a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing! I also think it’s exhausting, which is entirely the point, but that this stretch of the film needed one more calm beat before propelling toward its climax.
I also think Shults is one of the very few white men I trust to tell stories about people of color, and on behalf of that, I talked to him about the process he and his cast took together to make Waves work**.
You can read the full interview over at Paste Magazine.
*Normally I’d say that there are filmmakers other than Malick, but Shults worked with Malick before making his own movies, so this is a really literal statement of influence.
**Instead of interviewing women or people of color and talking to them exclusively about the difficulties of being women or people of color in the movie industry, I try talking to them about craft. Instead of talking to me about craft, I try talking to them about being white guys in the movie industry. Smart!