Movie Review: The Last Wave (1977)

The first time I watched this movie almost a year ago, I did not know what I was seeing. It was boring, confusing, and drawn out. For some reason, last week, I was sitting at the computer and something clicked in my mind telling me to get the movie again and give it another shot. So I did, and I am glad that I got the little inclination.

The Last Wave is easily director Peter Weir’s masterpiece, mainly because it is so creative and original. This plays into it being one of the most uneasy and mysterious movies you will ever see.

Set in 1970’s Sydney, Australia, it tells the story of a murder of an Aboriginal man by other members of his tribe. Richard Chamberlain plays a lawyer out to defend the suspected killers, because he believes the victim was killed as a part of tribal law, and if that is the case, then by Australian law (at least at that point in time), the men must be found not-guilty, and sentenced to a punishment within the tribe.

This movie perfectly depicts the clash between white Australians and the native Aboriginals, and how hard it is for a lawyer to defend them, because of how complicated the circumstances are. An actual tribal magistrate at the time, Nandjiwarra Amagula was also on hand to help with the authenticity of the dialogue, and also be cast in a supporting role.

So as the defense moves along, Chamberlain’s character is able to tie strange dreams he has been having to certain beliefs within the tribe whose men he is defending. It all comes down to an ancient prophecy that they guard, which involves an enormous tidal wave destroying all of humanity, so that life can be recycled and reborn.

What makes this movie really special, is the crafty blending of dream sequences with reality, making the viewer wonder what is real and what is not. That will open the door for your own interpretation of the final scenes, which is something very well shot by Weir.

This is a movie that people do not hear of, making it very underrated. It is almost impossible to get on DVD, as Criterion Collection owns the complete rights, and charge upwards of $35 for a single disc. I have never been able to find VHS copies of it either, which makes it even more rare. I was very lucky that Netflix has this, and that is why I was able to view it.

I will give this movie a final rating of 8 out of 10, because it proves that a movie does not have to be scary or in the horror genre to do an awesome job when dealing with the supernatural. Highly recommended to all who enjoy this type of film.


4 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Last Wave (1977)

  1. danyulengelke

    Great review!

    We’re linking to your article for Peter Weir Friday at

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Pingback: Peter Weir Friday – Watch: ‘The Last Wave’ (1977) | Seminal Cinema Outfit

  3. Pingback: The Last Wave Dvd Camfrog | Camfrog

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