You can nearly feel the pungent, sticky air adhere to your skin watching God’s Waiting Room, a Florida-set independent about foiled cravings, lives in an in-between state and rough driving forces held questionably in line. Rotating around the converging destinies (indeed, it’s one of those) of three Tampa tenants — a new confronted ingenue, the trickster who allures her and an ex-convict straightening out to life outwardly — essayist chief Tyler Riggs’ component debut has a ready, obvious feeling of spot and a couple of attractive leads in Nisalda Gonzalez and Matthew Leone as the youthful darlings. All that guarantee and potential make the film’s inevitable acquiescence to account antique and topical exceed even more frustrating.There’s undoubtedly a tight, rigidly close little dramatization here, standing by to be etched out from the superfluous plotting and proposal placing. Those defects stem fundamentally from the personality of Brandon (played by Riggs himself), the recuperating criminal whose storyline feels airdropped in from another — but not dreary — film through and through. His swaying direction slams into that of the focal couple in a third-act contraption that breaks the movie’s languorous spell. In the mean time, an endeavor to force some more prominent enormous significance on the story through Brandon’s droning, fortune-treat philosophical voiceover is a glaring tenderfoot error — an absence of trust in the film’s pictures to represent themselves.That’s a disgrace, since those pictures are energetic and reminiscent. The Sunshine State, with its intensely hued normal excellence and blindingly sun-heated, strip-shopping center grotesqueness in frequently jostling vicinity, has consumed a specific space in American autonomous film: Films from Victor Nunez’s Ruby in Paradise and Kelly Reichardt’s River of Grass to Spring Breakers, Moonlight, The Florida Project, The Beach Bum and Waves (just as the impending Zola) tell stories of euphoria and battle, heartfelt bliss and dingy culpability, befitting a place where there is limits and ambiguities. God’s Waiting Room, as well, catches that conjunction of lavishness and grime, the juxtaposition between the verse of the state’s view — delicately lapping sea blue waters, palms shifting in the breeze — and the mundane cheapness of quite a bit of its metropolitan and rural spread.
Despite the fact that Riggs’ melodious neo-pragmatist visual methodology is recognizable, the whiff of expressive this feels familiar — of derivativeness or obligation — so basic among executive bows at fests like Tribeca (and Sundance and SXSW and… ) is rarely overwhelming. The standard impacts are there, yet the producer invokes mind-set without floating into Malickian peculiarities, tracks his subjects’ developments without over-dependence on handheld, Dardennes-style following and utilizes facial close-ups without leaving us longing for Barry Jenkins. God’s Waiting Room looks sharp, even as it goes pitching out of control.
Yearning vocalist musician Rosie (Gonzalez), barely out of secondary school, inhabits home with her defensive Spanish-talking father (Ray Benitez), a development specialist. An acceptably juvenile mix of sweet and morose, she invests the vast majority of her energy playing on her guitar or shooting the poo with best buds Natty (Michelle Nunez) and Leigh (Leah Maxwell).
Rosie’s languid summer routine gets a purge when she begins hanging with Jules (Leone), a marginally more seasoned street pharmacist from New York. Her companions object — Leigh uncharitably considers him a “gross minimal New York pizza rodent” — at the same time, with reckless appeal and traces of authentic enthusiasm and winking mindfulness underneath his lothario shtick, Jules works on Rosie’s guards.