Director: M. Blash
Stars: Jena Malone, Chloë Sevigny, Luke Grimes, Josh Hamilton, Devon Gearhart, Lana Green, Michael O'Keefe
Running time: 96 minutes
Every film festival has a few insufferable examples of pretentious independence, and only the luckiest attendee can spend his or her entire time at said festival without unknowingly subjecting themselves to the painfulness. Well, behold SXSW 2013's first movie of this type: The Wait. And, as you can tell, my luck ran out on day three.
A plot description is pointless, since writer-director M. Blash's The Wait goes out of it's way to muddle any storyline that may have at first existed. In it's opening minutes, the film shows two solemn, unpleasant sisters (Jena Malone and Chloe Sevigny) standing next their just-deceased mother's deathbed. And then the phone rings, Sevigny answers it, hears a voice telling her that mom will soon return, and then understandably gets creeped out.
The remaining 80 minutes, unfortunately, aggressively defy logic. Malone's character starts an unconvincing romance with a random stranger who initially stalked her family's home. Sevigny buys a puppy runt and, in The Wait's apex of ridiculousness, shows her young daughter video footage of her giving birth, up close, personal, and wrongfully disgusting.
All of this could've achieved a Lynchian weirdness if anyone involved appeared to give a damn, but the cast's across-the-board dullness lends the already detached film a distinct coldness.
Within a half-hour, four people in attendance at the SXSW world premiere grabbed their bags and hauled ass outdoors. Less than an hour later, that number reached above 20, with those still seated laughing at unintentionally hilarious moments like the sight of Malone running headfirst into a sliding glass door for no good reason.
There's a lesson that should be learned from The Wait, though: When stepping foot into a screening venue at a film festival, it's best to sit as close to an aisle as possible, especially if you're considerate of others and don't like bumping your way out of rows.
Those who stayed until the film's end all shared something; It would have been befitting if everyone had the filed into an Austin trauma center to assess what just happened. Whether they realized it or not, we all bonded inside Austin's Stateside Theatre.