Peter Weir's The Last Wave is the type of the film that sure seems like it would have grabbed the attention of Hollywood back in 1977. Full of film noirish undertones, Weir's psychological thriller tells the story of David Burton, a Sydney Lawyer, a loving husband and father of two children, and a man that is having horrifying visions of catastrophe. He is assigned to defend a group of five Aborigine man who are accused of murdering one of their own via drowning. Without not going into too much plot details for the sake of spoiling a well excuted mystery/thriller, one could call Peter Weir's The Last Wave, a thinking man's Hollywood disaster flick, though the film's best attribues lie in its commentary on the destruction of Aborigine culture by British Imperialsm and white culture. The Last Wave paints a picture in Austraila where Aborigne culture is essentially none existent, with everyone but David Burton believing these men murdered one of their own in a drunken brawl. Everyone believes these men couldnt still practice the old tribal culture in the city, laughing at the idea that a city dwelling Aborigne would still practice their culture. David Burton belives it was a tribal killing, and soon finds himself believing that Aborigne's culture may be the key to figuring out why he his having these nightmaric visions. I have no idea if these beliefs are factual based, but Weir's film creates a fascinating mysticism about dreams and how we as a society have written them off as nothing truly important. The Last Wave is intriguing and keeps you engaged from start to finish, with Weir showing his ability to create an intense atmosphere, with visual compositions and slow camera movements that do a great job of mimicking the creeping sense of dread that envelopes the whole film. I'd probably go as far as to say that The Last Wave is my favorite of his films, being a fast-paced thriller that is accesible but introspective, with great visual flourishes and a geniune sense of mystery. With surrealistic dream sequences, Peter Weir's The Last Wave is a great thriller and smart commentary on the destruction of culture that has happened in Austrailia over the years.
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