As a man becomes a father, his since long forgotten memories of his abusive childhood start coming back up to the surface. Through fragments he recalls his life's tragedies and his traumas consumes him.
"Shockwaves" fell through the cracks and was actually a movie that was supposed to be reviewed 2 years ago. While going through old screener e-mails, "Shockwaves" resurfaced. This is a movie that I remember looking forward to watching because of how unique it is. The movie is made mostly through using old public domain movies, mixed with just a bit of new footage to guide the story, and connecting it all with a vivid soundscape. The idea of messing around with stock footage or similar has been done a lot in short films, which we've seen in numerous short film compilations that we've reviewed. In feature films this method is a lot more unique, and "Shockwaves" was made in the hands of someone skilled enough to put together a compelling experience.
The story is not front and center of "Shockwaves" at all. It's there as a device to guide the experience in what mood it should convey at what times. The idea is that this is a fragmented journey through a traumatised man's memories as he recalls his abusive father. Surprisingly, much of this is conveyed within the film, but more in how you are feeling while watching it.
A movie like "Shockwaves" is incredibly taxing on your brain if you let it be. It's an audiovisual experience with quick shots, weird soundtracks and wide variety of editing techniques, and it does get tiring. That's not to say it's a bad thing, because the movie shouldn't have been done in any other way. Because there are so many shots from public domain movies used, but always very quick shots, I still credit "Shockwaves" entirely to its creator. It's not a case where someone was lazy and used stock images, but rather an artist who put good use of every shot to create eccentric art. The editing work that went into making this movie is amazing. Consider the time it must have taken to even find the footage to use! Not only that, how to use the footage in ways that will drive the story/experience forward!
If you go into "Shockwaves" for the story you will probably be confused, yet the movie does manage to show the emotion of its story throughout. When the memory of his childhood abuse presents itself, you'll know. When the movie reaches its violent climax, you'll know. You might not know exactly what happened, but you know how it felt and feels.
It could be easy to ignore a movie like this. It's a movie that requires your attention along the way, but at the same time it wants you to be present with your senses more than your mind. Watching "Shockwaves" with good sound is integral to appreciate what was created here, but you'd probably have the best experience watching it in a dark theater.
"Shockwaves" is exactly the kind of movie we enjoy getting into here at Film Bizarro, and it's a shame we couldn't get to it sooner because we somehow forgot to add it to our queue. Experimental films have become something very different now from what it used to be. When you think of experimental films you should think of people like Stan Brakhage, and Kasumi's work is a lot closer to that than many contemporary experimental films. It's an actual experiment, not just a movie with weird shots and filtering. It's inspiring to watch someone making use of shots from long forgotten public domain movies to create a brand new experience. It might not sit well for casual viewing, but if you want to experience a tragedy by the use of modern culture, edited together as an assault by Kasumi, then you should go watch it. You can rent it right now!
Note: we decided to not put any ratings on this review because of how it was created. Gore, story, effects etc. is hard to rate when the movie uses mostly public domain footage.