“A New Wave” is a deceptive sleeper about the dangers that arise when people try to merge fantasy into reality. If the film doesn’t re-invent the heist genre, it more than compensates with a surplus of surprises and a couple of damn fine women who ultimately make this a must-see flick.
Twentysomething roommates Desmond (Andrew Kerrigan) and Gideon (John Krasinski) seem to be living dead-end lives. Desmond has an unsatisfying job as a bank teller, where his displeasure is reflected in lapses of rudeness to his customers. Gideon sits around watching gangster movies on video (it appears he can’t afford a DVD player). Desmond is nervous about pursuing his dream of becoming a painter, but Gideon is gung-ho about living his dream as a swashbuckling bank robber. While Desmond is literally pulled into fulfilling his artistic destiny by his too-supportive girlfriend Julie (Lacey Chabert), Gideon joins forces with a British sidekick (Dean Edwards) to rob a bank – which, not coincidentally, is the bank where Desmond works. For Gideon, the hard part is getting Desmond to become a part of his larcenous fantasy.
“A New Wave” is not, by any stretch, a perfect film. Director/writer Jason Carvey’s pacing is often closer in spirit to Dreyer than Tarantino, and the endless pop culture references to gangster flicks doesn’t automatically give the production a class-by-association linkage. The low budget is also obvious on occasion (particularly when the besieged bank is surrounded by a one-man police force). And someone needs to coach Dean Edwards on his British accent (he sounds closer to Brooklyn and Brixton).
Still, “A New Wave” has a lot going for it: slick cinematography by Kambui Olujimi, wonderfully over-the-top sight gags (particularly an unexpected pornographic art collection and the vision of the bank robbers, wearing panty hose over their heads, resembling warped rabbits), and a too-funny supporting performance by William Sadler as Desmond’s potential father-in-law (he seems to be imitating Frank Gorshin imitating Kirk Douglas). And look out for rising indie star Russ Russo in a small role as an obsequious bank teller – he has no dialogue, but he has such a strong presence that he can say volumes without uttering a word.
And then there’s the eye candy. Caprice Benedetti, playing Julie mother, is the most gorgeous lioness to strut across the indie screen this year. This woman can generate pants-breaking erections just by saying “Hello!” And three cheers for the costume designer for playing up Lacey Chabert’s cleavage. One can easily start whistling “Down in the Valley” whenever her bosoms come into view. Tits ahoy, Lacey!