It’s hard to fault ambition, even when it isn’t quite fulfilled. Between Waves attempts to be both a portrait of grief, and an introspective, philosophical science fiction drama. It doesn’t entirely succeed with either, but it’s a noble effort.
Jamie (Fiona Graham) is a photographer in Toronto, quietly reeling from the disappearance of her boyfriend Issac (Luke Robinson). She catches glimpses of Isaac, even after his body has been found. Are these sightings a manifestation of her bereavement? A benzodiazepine-induced hallucination? Or perhaps Isaac’s work in establishing the existence of parallel universes has come to fruition? For reasons that are never satisfactorily explained, Jamie must take a trip to the Azores to find out.
Between Waves has an inclination to betray its low budget, with unflattering lighting and colour grading, inducing the unfortunate, recurring thought that many scenes would have benefitted from another take or two. The dialogue runs the gamut from perfunctory to cliché-riddled soap opera-level exchanges that veer dangerously close to being unintentionally amusing. It seems like Fiona lives with a never-ending cavalcade of traumatic flashbacks, often waking from a nightmare or hallucination with a terrified gasp of the sort that only exists on screen.
The science of the film’s multiverse theory appears to have been formulated with about 30 seconds of research on Wikipedia, and yet the cast delivers their clunky remarks with such conviction that suspension of disbelief is maintained, although often just barely.
The maudlin tone throughout doesn’t do the production any favours, and there’s a gracelessly pointless revelation later in the story that attempts to rationalise Jamie’s behaviour. Despite its shaky approach, and the fact that its reach exceeds its grasp, Between Waves is undoubtedly ambitious, and even thought-provoking in an undemanding sort of way. Top marks for effort, even though the execution is flawed.
Between Waves is released digitally on demand on 20th September 2021.
Watch the trailer for Between Waves here: