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This review is from: Criterion Collection: Last Wave [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
The Last Wave is a genuinely eerie apocalyptic thriller from director Peter Weir. It is imbued with Aboriginal spiritualism and symbolism and is probably his darkest film to date. Chamberlain gives one of his better performances portraying a very pragmatic lawyer called to defend a group of Aborigines charged with a tribal killing. During his involvement with the case he begins to have unusual and portentous dreams signifying that there is much more going on than he realised. This takes place against a backdrop of extreme weather events such as black rain, torrential downpours and golf-ball sized hail.
Weir creates an extremely foreboding ominous atmosphere which builds to almost unbearable levels during the final scenes and the ending is typical of Weir, very ambiguous and unexpected and it haunts you for days afterwards!
Like all of Weir's films the music score plays quite an important part, this time featuring lots of eerie low rumbling didgeridoos. And also of particular note are the sound effects which are quite unsettling featuring a chorus of croaking frogs and insects as well as the most disturbing howling wind and rain EVER!
I love the way Weir creates an eerie film without actually showing you anything disturbing or scary, much like his previous film Picnic at Hanging Rock, everything is simply implied and leaves a lot to the audience's imagination which can be more effective than anything ever seen on screen. It would be nice to see Weir make a return to this genre.