Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Short Attention Span Review: The Last Wave (1977)

Short Attention Span Review: The Last Wave (1977)

A pragmatic lawyer suffering from strange dreams and eerie visions takes on a case involving aborigines and tribal murder.  Slowly but surely, he starts to believe that his dreams and visions may hint at an impending apocalypse.  Is he losing his mind or has he stumbled upon some horrible truth?  Richard Chamberlain stars in this deliberate but troubling venture from noted director Peter Weir.  Grounded and populated by believable characters and sound performances, The Last Wave also sports a spooky score and several gripping sequences wherein these dreams and visions intertwine with the main character's unfortunate reality.  One of this picutre's greatest strengths is its fierce independence, and yet this may also be a shortcoming.  While I applaud anything unique and difficult to classify, it's hard to succeed in the absence of an audience.  The Last Wave is a rich and intriguing film, but I'm not quite sure who it is designed for.  Horror fans will yearn for a bit more carnage, while drama fans are going to be bothered by the supernatural element and the occasional forays into demented imagery.  Having said that, the macabre aspects of the feature do benefit from the restraint and the subtlety on display, giving them greater significance and making the ultimate fate of the protagonist resonate with the viewer.  While it is slow at times and uneven at others, The Last Wave is also curious and compelling, and it surely benefits from Weir's potent artistry and Chamberlain's undeniable charisma.  If you're lookie for a subdued movie that bridges the gap between your favorite courtroom drama and The Twilight Zone, look no further.

Final Grade: B-

Ominous and captivating, The Last Wave is an unusual affair that is both measured and surprisingly unsettling.

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