I’ll be honest, I’ve been putting off watching The Last Wave for some time. I’m not really sure why; I’m a fan of Peter Weir, so it’s not like this was yet another film from a director I usually have to slog through, but this just didn’t interest me the way a film on the list normally does; it seemed like just another average film that mysteriously made it into the book. I needn’t have worried as much as I did; this is a solidly entertaining film with an atmosphere that really puts it in a unique place even among the other films on the list.
There is some abnormal weather occurring in the regions of Australia, right around the time a mysterious murder involving the local Aborigines takes place, and David Burton (played by Richard Chamberlain) is the man called up to defend them; little does he know the circumstances he will find himself enmeshed in, the odd and strange happenings involving the weather that he is somehow tied to. The film is expertly filmed and shot; there were many instances where the technique of the camera was made clearly evident, if for no other purpose than to show off the techniques itself, but it was still impressive to watch. For such an oddity of a film, it was well put together; the editing was solid, and the mood was ever-pervasive throughout the film, even in the unassuming parts. The unusual soundtrack, like most mood-setting films, really helped to place us in the right mindset and keep us there, as strange a mindset as this film seemed to have.
Some aspects of the film appear to have dated quite a bit since the film’s release, but the product as a whole is still remarkably entertaining and well kept up amidst the passage of time, or dream-time as the film may put it. The film even has a shred of topicality that helps link it more effectively to modern audiences, what with its portents of apocalyptic doom hanging over the main character’s subconscious mind. All in all, I didn’t go into this expecting much, and was pleasantly rewarded with a surprisingly gripping thriller that kept me invested and always wondering what was going on all the way until the last shot. The ending is deliberately ambiguous, and a bit hard to decipher, but the journey itself was quite the experience, and it’s one I would recommend, but only to the certain type of person who would walk away pleased with the escapism and mystery, and not just walk away scratching their head and lamenting the time spent on it.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10