God’s Waiting Room, 2021.
Directed by Tyler Riggs.
Starring Ray Benitez, Renata Eastlick, Tyler Riggs, Nisalda Gonzalez, Paulina Galvez, Matthew Leone, Leah Maxwell, David Meneses, Michelle Nunez.
Rosie (Nisalda Gonzalez), Jules (Matthew Leone) and Brandon (Tyler Riggs) are conflicting characters who share common ground. Florida state, affectionately know as God’s Waiting Room, is the stage for their story and the drama that follows them.
Tyler Rigg’s Tribeca entry is ultimately a hypnotic piece of film making. Underpinned throughout by Chris Dudley’s dreamlike score, God’s Waiting Room feels visceral, vital and honest. Nisalda Gonzalez and Matthew Leone display a raw uninhibited talent, which binds this story together without once bursting the bubble. As Rosie and Jules respectively, their instinctive chemistry captures, complements and enriches this organically homegrown fable.
Director of photography Mack Fisher frames intimate moments, mixes his methods and gives everything an innate vitality. Going from shaky hand held to pin sharp classically framed digital staging, God’s Waiting Room is a cacophony of visual influences. There is a tension and heat permeating every moment, which brings these locations to life as Florida infiltrates and shapes narrative. It offers as much character and nuance to this movie as any character on screen, without diminishing dramatic intent.
Infinite possibilities merge with sun kissed moments of inspiration, in a tale which interlinks individuals through abstract encounters. Moonlit liaisons early on feel untroubled by structure, while Nisalda Gonzalez adds pathos through music adding untold amounts of reality.
On the opposite end of this dialled down parochial melodrama is Tyler Riggs as Brandon. An institutionalised ex-con looking to reform after twelve years behind bars. From the ominous voice over onwards, his journey is a counterpoint to the story of discovery which occurs between Rosie and Jules. In isolated scenes he remains magnetic, either viewed through a monitor or observed from a distance. There is an impassioned powder keg quality to his performance, which is undercut by a sense of vulnerability.
With this film, director Tyler Riggs has fashioned a domestic drama which feels more like a sensory cinematic experience, with philosophical leanings. There is an innate sense of naturalism which gives God’s Waiting Room a documentary feel. Dialogue has an unstructured cadence; scenes feel improvised and yet the denouncement carries weight. Bursting with vibrancy, defined by grounded interpretation yet conspicuously understated, this film is a mass of contradictions.
As a unique take on the human condition, it deserves a bigger audience. It possesses an impressionistic quality which seamlessly combines unrelated elements to create a captivating experience. Impulsively concise in its approach, God’s Waiting Room has a fly on the wall sensibility that draws audiences in. An experience which is added to in no small measure by the pitch perfect performances of Nisalda Gonzalez, Matthew Leone and Tyler Riggs. If there is any justice, then Tyler Riggs and his ensemble cast will go on to do great things.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★