WAIST DEEP | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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When a movie opens with a working-class ex-con handing his son a war toy, then lecturing him to shun violence, you might expect some exploration of our culture's proficiency at mixed messages. But in trying to dress a family-first drama in the clothes of a bloody neo-noir thriller, director and co-writer Vondie Curtis Hall merely leaves his own trail of conflicting signals. Waist Deep is more varied visually than your typical action flick ... some sequences are, unexpectedly, quite lovely. But, like the film's ridiculous spasms in tone, cinematic gimmickry only makes Waist Deep feel more desperate to appease every possible audience. Hall's direction and editing go completely spastic at moments of violence, suggesting a desire for jarring effects without the emotional consequences. Tyrese Gibson projects a fundamental decency as a man trying to retrieve his kidnapped son, but it hardly seems worth the effort. (BO)

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