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God's Waiting Room (2021)

2021 Tribeca Film Festival Review:

Rosie (Nisalda Gonzalez), Jules (Matthew Leone), and an individual attempting to assimilate himself back into the real world (Tyler Riggs--also writer and director) journey through life. While they all exist at different points in their lives, destined never to have their paths cross, fate forces their stories to converge. God’s Waiting Room is the story of how the three eventually cross one another’s path in the most tragic of ways. Their lives will never be the same again once they see each other for the first time, and this twisted world in which they live couldn’t care less.

God’s Waiting Room is quiet, and that absence of sound often adds to the drama. Viewers can hear the characters’ every movement, including their breathing, gasps for air, etc., and those viewers are pulled so deep into the stories present throughout. The characters are able to develop as a result of the raw nature of these intensely quiet scenes. I was drawn in by everything that wasn’t said as I could see the expressions on the characters’ faces, analyze their body language, and experience the fluid chemistry that nearly everyone has with one another. The silence in God’s Waiting Room is deafening as it provides loads of context and fully immerses viewers in this emotional journey.

In addition to the limited dialogue, the absence of light plays a significant role in helping to develop God’s Waiting Room. There is an overarching darkness that lives within each of the characters, and the physically dark nature of the film, including clothes, settings, and language, adds to the pain and suffering felt throughout. This added dimension of intensity ups the ante and provides Riggs’s film with new levels of meaning.

The story moves slowly, begging viewers to analyze each and every second, and it fares well as a result. The subtle nuances, like sound and light, that play a role in the development of God’s Waiting Room are easily realized. Riggs does a spectacular job of highlighting what he’s good at and allowing viewers the opportunity to watch his story develop as a result of those strengths. Now, I’ve seen films where the writer, director, etc. are well aware of their prowess and will go out of their way to boast and show off, but Riggs elegantly brings his strengths to light. I genuinely appreciate the fact that Riggs is able to express himself and that he understands how to make his film enjoyable while still managing to be somewhat subtle and incredibly humble about how talented he is.

Throughout the course of God’s Waiting Room viewers can see a series of ups and downs that take place within each of the characters. Their journeys are turbulent and can cause some confusion, especially considering the fact that God’s Waiting Room is not entirely linear. Riggs’s expertise, however, allows the film to flow smoothly and viewers to understand exactly what is taking place. Just as the audience has a grasp on what they believe will transpire in the closing moments a dark, but miraculous twist occurs. This twist alters the reality of the characters and the overall story--some may say for the better, others for the worse--I subscribe to the former. Regardless of one's opinion on this particular aspect of the film, it is clear that Riggs has a genuine understanding of how to engage his viewers. From start to finish Riggs entertains, frustrates, and perplexes his audience, making for a subtly wild ride viewers won’t soon forget.

Written and directed by Tyler Riggs.

Starring Nisalda Gonzalez, Ray Benitez, Matthew Leone, Tyler Riggs, Michelle Natalie Nunez, Leah Maxwell, etc.




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