Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Last Wave

The Last Wave is a 1977 film directed by Peter Weir (who directed the wonderful Picnic at Hanging Rock). It stars Richard Chamberlain. This film is hard to categorize. It's a mystery but also an eerie fantasy of sorts. I loved this one. It has a mystical air, a mixing of dream and reality, that appeals to me. Wikipedia describes it this way: "It is about a white solicitor in Sydney whose seemingly normal life is disrupted after he takes on a murder case and discovers that he shares a strange, mystical connection with the small group of local Australian Aborigines accused of the crime."

via Youtube:

Senses of Cinema says,
The Last Wave is significant as a major film of the 1970s Australian film renaissance, a critically well-received film from a leading director of that period, and also, a marker film in the career of David Gulpilil. At 24, he had been acting in Australian film and television for six years since his debut in Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout (1971 UK/Australia). The Last Wave was a key film in a journey that was to become both his life’s work, and his most important contribution to Australian cinema: to engage in a dialogue with Australian auteurs, audiences and Indigenous people to communicate Aboriginal identity, culture, values and history.
The New York Times has a mixed review, calling it "a movingly moody shock-film, composed entirely of the kind of variations on mundane behavior and events that are most scary and disorienting because they so closely parallel the normal." The Guardian says it "has an unsettling surreal energy that seems to exist entirely in that moment, where something as ordinary as the weather becomes an instrument of terror and suspense." Tabula Rasa writes, "There is dreamlike quality to this film, and as said, the viewer has to do some work. It may not be to everyone's taste. But for me this is one of the best demonstrations that Australia can be haunted and haunting."


  1. It sounds like a movie I would enjoy, especially since I know so little about Australia and the Aboriginal people. Thanks for the nice review.

    1. I don't remember hearing anything about this movie when it was released, and I was certainly unaware of an "Australian film renaissance". I need to find some more of those :)