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A Sydney lawyer has more to worry about than higher-than-average rainfall when he is called upon to defend five Aboriginals in court. Determined to break their silence and discover the truth behind the hidden society he suspects lives in his city, the Lawyer is drawn further, and more intimately, into a prophesy that threatens a new Armageddon, wherein all the continent shall drown. Written by
David Carroll <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Chamberlin's character leaves his office and drives in the rain the windshield wipers are moving at a fast rate. When the shot changes to inside the car the wipers are suddenly moving at a slower rate. See more »
'The Last Wave' is far more than the sum of its parts. It's not merely a disaster film, not simply an exploration into Australian Aboriginal spirituality, and certainly more than a simple court drama. Writer/Director Peter Weir manages to take these elements to the next level to produce a truly effective and thought-provoking film with the same eerie atmosphere he gave to 'Picnic At Hanging Rock' two years earlier, that you will continue to remember years later.
When lawyer David Burton (Chamberlain) is called to defend Chris Lee (Gulpilil) over the death of an Aboriginal for which he may or may not be directly responsible, he finds himself not merely struggling to get the truth from Lee, but making sense of what he hears when it does come. As with the Aboriginal belief that there are two worlds - the everyday and the Dreamtime, the truth exists on two completely different levels, with ramifications more disastrous than Burton could ever have imagined.
No doubt the reason why 'Picnic At Hanging Rock' is better remembered is because of its enduring mystery. We are led along the same path but forced to find answers for ourselves. In 'The Last Wave', we can piece everything together by the end of the film. However, even with all the information, we have to choose how much of it we want to believe, because the film takes us beyond the borders of our normal realities.
On the production side, Weir uses his budget to great effect, progressively building a sense of doom in everything from soft lighting, to heavy rain, to good use of sound. The incidental music is unobtrusive, never trying to be grandiose. Richard Chamberlain manages to convey the bafflement the audience would doubtless feel as he tries to unravel the mystery. David Gulpilil excellently portrays a man trapped between two worlds, wanting to do the right thing, but afraid because he already knows the ending.
Put all these things together, and you have a perfect example of why David Weir is a familiar name in cinema thirty years on. Strongly recommended.
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