Friday, August 20, 2010

THE LAST WAVE (1977) - Peter Weir

A group of tribal Aboriginals in Sydney have the inside dope on the end of the world...namely, apocalypse by giant wave. Richard Chamberlain plays the corporate lawyer who comes to defend them in a mysterious murder case. He discovers he's the only white dude who can tap into the Aboriginal "dreamtime" (a sort of subconscious second sight). Cue lots of shots hail falling in the desert, raining frogs, flooding suburban stairwells and "black rain" oil dripping onto car windshields. You know, the usual end-of-times hocus-pocus.

It all looks pretty cool, but The Last Wave does suffer from a little bit of The Green Mile's "magical negro" syndrome. Why is it always oppressed cultures who have the lock on magic and end-of-world prophecy anyway? Oh yes, probably something to do with white guilt.

Not that that makes The Last Wave a bad movie. Actually, it's pretty impressive on many levels. And when David Gulpilil's your designated magic man, you're way ahead of the curve. If you've grown bored with The Weather Channel recently, give the Criterion Collection's The Last Wave a go. Just make sure to bring your plastic poncho and some dry clothes to change into aftwerwards. You will definitely get wet on this ride.

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