Sunday, October 18, 2015

619. The Last Wave (1977)

Running Time: 105 minutes
Directed By: Peter Weir
Written By: Peter Weir, Tony Morphett, Petru Popescu
Main Cast: Richard Chamberlain, Olivia Hamnett, David Gulpilil, Frederick Parslow, Vivean Gray
Click here to view the trailer


So I've plotted everything out and if I'm willing to put in some serious overtime (and I do mean SERIOUS), I still have a fighting chance at finishing this project up on Halloween. I've asked for my wife's permission to be drowned in moves for the next couple weeks and since she's been streaming The Walking Dad via Netflix, she's more than happy to oblige me. Hey, speaking of drowning...

Ewww remember Picnic at Hanging Rock? Man, I sure did when I went to pop in The Last Wave. However, having just seen The Truman Show last month, I was in need of a little more Peter Weir so that I could bang out some definitive opinions on the Aussie director. The film takes place in Australia and gets underway when an Aborigine is murdered by a group of fellow Aborigine. When the autopsy is complete, it is deemed that he drowned in a puddle of water after being beaten by a group of boys, however, we know that a someone shook a bone at him, put a curse on his ass and he dropped over dead. Meanwhile, family man and lawyer David Burton can't get to sleep. He's been having really vivid, weird dreams that he can't explain and can't shake even after waking in fright. It is David who takes on the case of the four Aborigine accused of murder, the head of the group, a man named Chris (Gulpilil). David seems to think that Chris is keeping something from him regarding the murder (which the audience knows is true), but Chris refuses to release anymore information regarding the bizarre circumstances surrounding the victim. Add to all that the fact that the weather in Australia has been becoming increasingly violent, with torrential downpours becoming commonplace and David's dreams eluding that the weather may be more than just a normal forecast.

My wife started this with me, but at about the forty minute mark she decided to check out (The Walking Dead strikes again). To be honest, I can't really blame her. Though I was intrigued at that point, I wasn't so intrigued that I'd have stuck around if I was any less of a movie fanatic. I'm still not really sure exactly what the endgame was here? So David could predict the future? Okay, so this was more of a supernatural film than any sort of real, serious attempt at a cohesive story? Fine. By the end, we're given some cock & bull story about David belonging to some ancient tribe that was able to prophesize the future via their dreams. However, by day he plays Clark Kent, tacks on a pair of nerdy glasses & wig and transforms into a lawyer. I think I've seen this somewhere before.

In all seriousness, I WAS indeed intrigued, but unfortunately not intrigued enough to shower any sort of praise at this one. The ultra dreary atmosphere was enough to keep me mildly engaged and this was also my introduction to Richard Chamberlain, whom I took to and immediately thought I'd need to seek out more of his work, in the future. However, this was just too confusing and muddled for me and for a film that seemed to be leading to a big payoff at the end, what we got in the final climax wasn't enough to justify this ultimately boring affair at the movies. I may look back on this film and remember it fondly someday (atmosphere, mild intrigue and Chamberlain the reasons why), but thankfully I author a blog, so that I'll be able to peruse previous thoughts and realize that this wasn't the film for me. Weir is officially 1-3 (1 for "Truman" and 3 for "Last Wave", "Hanging Rock" and "Gallipoli").

My expression at the end of The Last Wave

RATING: 5/10  Split it in half and call it a day. I was really hoping this would be good too, as I was all set and ready to add another contender to the TOP 20 candidates. For the curious, the films leading the pack as of this writing are: The Decalogue, Stroszek, The Deer Hunter, Scarface and Fitzcarraldo. I'd be very surprised if that wasn't your TOP FIVE right there - just not necessarily in that order.


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