Imbued with an overwhelming sense of self-importance and art-house allure, M.Blash’s The Wait is a pointless, towering cheat of a film. Keeping the viewer at arm’s length throughout, this stone-faced mediation on life, death, and the surreal registers as nothing more than an exercise that fails to compute in the slightest.
The film is set in Oregon with the characters looking as if they’ve walked straight out of a J. Crew magazine and into the film’s droning and dour atmosphere. The joke here is that it seems highly plausible that there’s more for them to do on the shiny pages of a magazine than in this film. Penned by M. Blash as well, The Wait concerns itself with sisters Angela (Jena Malone) and Emma (Chloë Sevigny), both of whom are left misguided and unsure of how to handle the emotional heft left behind after their mother’s death.
While the body sits in their home, Emma receives a cryptic phone call from a psychic woman who forewarns that her deceased mother will return back to life. This event sets the table for an expectation of drama and a reveal that never comes. Emma wishes to protect the body, while Angela finds solace and romance in a local neighbor (Luke Grimes) who is planning something big with random items around town that he’s collected. There’s also their odd younger brother (Devon Gearhart) who is naturally affected by the death. He roams around the community by himself, watching a girl in a swimming pool and occasionally dropping in on his friend’s father (Josh Hamilton), to whom he shows a disturbing video clip of a young child getting hit by a train.
What The Wait all adds up to is anyone’s guess. The mystery is ingrained from the start, but Blash torpedoes the narrative with ridiculous dialogue and empty gestures. It’s 90 minutes of characters meandering about, speaking words without the semblance of meaning or weight. Throw in the foreboding forest fire that wages on in the background of the film, a phony and transparent symbol that shows off how egregious Blash’s intentions are.
The director has made it so there’s no humor or wit to be found in this world of sullen characters lacking proper motivation and personality. We’re left aloof and detached from the supposed drama of two sisters fighting through a discordant struggle that breeds a resolve so unattainable and ridiculous. Ultimately it leaves us scratching our heads as to why we ever cared in the first place.
What’s most frustrating is the fact that talents like Malone and Sevigny would subject themselves to this sort of low-level artistic posturing that dizzies itself into a coma by the time it frustratingly wraps up. The Wait not only suffers from having a bad title, but bad everything. Like the large white capsule that a character buries underground late in the film (which of course has “Abracadabra” written on it), Blash’s film deserves nothing more than to pull the same trick and completely disappear forever.