First Wave (2021). Photo: Neon

First Wave (2021)

"I have to keep it together. I have kids who can't see me fall apart. He has to come home. He has no choice." - Alexis Ellis, wife of Ahmed Ellis, NYPD School Safety Officer and Covid Patient

Right out of the gate, The First Wave marches us into battle. It's the early days of the pandemic. Covid-19 is here, and hospitals are the front line. There is no escaping the fight before us. Death has come to take New York in the form of a highly contagious virus. The Coronavirus is everywhere, it doesn't discriminate, and there is no cure.

The First Wave, an outstanding National Geographic documentary by Matthew Heineman (the director of Cartel land), brutally starts with Coronavirus patients dying on screen. Covid envelops one of the hardest hit hospitals in New York, and we follow the lives of two patients and nurses that struggle to keep up. It is heartbreaking to watch but mesmerizing drama at the same time.

Heineman does a fantastic job of documenting the impact of this horrible virus on society and individuals. Entire hospitals are overwhelmed and pushed beyond capacity. The government is fighting to stay on top of an invisible army, killing thousands. But at its core, The First Wave is about the courageous people on the front lines caring for us as individuals and families. As families grapple with the horrors of Covid in First Wave, the strength of the human spirit shines through.

Scary, mesmerizing, gripping, and at times hopeful, this documentary from National Geographic is one of the year's best. (B)

Directed by Matthew Heineman
Genre: Documentary

Photo: Neon

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