Wave Makers (2023) review: Brilliant depiction of the cutthroat campaign trail

Wave Makers (2023) follows the press team of a political candidate in the run-up to the Presidential elections in Taiwan and all the work that goes into campaigning. The series is streaming on Netflix.

Story

Weng Wen-fang works for the press department that handles Lin Yueh-chin’s campaign in the upcoming Presidential elections in Taiwan. She works with Chen Chia-ching and a group of highly dedicated individuals who want to see progress in their country.

The work is underway a full 10 months before election day as the various departments strategize how to promote their candidate with all the demographics and how best to undermine the opposition within the confines of the law.

Candidates are pushed to share their stance on polarizing topics while even the hint of a scandal is latched onto and blown up in front of the public to gain any advantage possible.

Wen-fang and her colleagues weather the storm to ensure that Lin Yueh-chin comes out as the best possible candidate who promises a positive change in government for the people.

Performances

Ying-Hsuan Hsieh plays Weng Wen-fang with distinction. She is a strong independent woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself or her colleagues and Ying-Hsuan fits the role like a glove.

Gingle Wang is wonderful as Chang Ya-ching, the young girl who is manipulated by a strong man. Wang captures the courage and the hesitancy in Ya-ching as she exposes Chang-tse and lifts a heavy burden off her shoulders.

Jag Huang adds some light entertainment as Chen Chia-ching, although there is a lot of effort put into his relationship as well which makes his character multi-faceted. Huang maintains the balance required for his role well.

Leon Dai is authentic as the stereotypical politician who turns on the charm in public but has his vices and doesn’t believe he’s doing anything wrong and Dai makes it look easy here.

The rest of the cast have their own moments of sparkle in the series that work just as much due to the collective as it does due to the individuals.

Positives

The lead-up to an election has been covered in Hollywood multiple times before but watching how things unfold in Taiwan is quite interesting. Wave Makers makes the process considerably engaging while adding in the necessary drama.

The characters are amazingly written and are a joy to watch. Each one of them has quirks and drawbacks in a genuine effort to present real people doing the work.

The cinematography is magnificent with perfect framing and expansive shots of rallies and parades. The series even manages to capture the subtle moments really well.

The story progresses at a comfortable pace and never feels rushed despite the timeline jumping occasionally. They cut out insignificant periods without making them too obvious.

Negatives

There are occasional moments where the tone isn’t set and that makes for some awkward transitions. A particularly serious scene doesn’t settle enough before something funny occurs right after in one moment.

Verdict

Wave Makers (2023) is an engaging series with some recognizable tropes about politics but that doesn’t mean that it is a boring retread of what has come before. Filled with intriguing characters, the series takes the audience on a journey that has a pleasant ending.

Wave Makers
Wave Makers (2023) review: Brilliant depiction of the cutthroat campaign trail 1

Director: Chun-Yang Lin

Date Created: 2023-04-28 12:30

Editor's Rating:
3.5

Also Read: Wave Makers (2023) summary and ending explained

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