New York Times - 12/19/1978
"...An impressive work...Nice performances from [the] cast, especially from [Chamberlain]..."
David Burton (Richard Chamberlain) is a young Sydney tax lawyer with a wife, two young daughters, and a very comfortable suburban existence. His life takes a strange turn, however, when he is asked to defend a group of Aborigines who have been accused of murder. The mysterious young men are maddeningly reticent when it comes to discussing the circumstances, though, and he finds that factors beyond his comprehension are involved when he begins having disturbing watery visions and ghostly sightings of Chris (David Gulpilil, WALKABOUT), one of the men involved in the murder. Already in over his head, David begins an odyssey involving strange natural occurrences in downtown Sydney, the Aboriginal concept of "dream time," and what seems to the end of the world as we know it.
Peter Weir infuses his film with a spooky sense of dread that gives the viewer the sensation of entering a private world. Through a combination of Chamberlain's restrained performance and a handful of minimal yet well-chosen visual effects, THE LAST WAVE is able to create a believable aura of the impending apocalypse. With its thoughtful pitting of modern society against an ancient culture, it stands as one of the touchstones of 1970s Australian cinema.
An ethereal, atmospheric film about the possibility of an environmental catastrophe. When a young aborigine is murdered, a Sydney lawyer defends the accused men to save them from tribal retribution. But once the attorney begins investigating the case, he starts having disturbing dreams and strange encounters. His visions lead him to a remote, sacred monument with cryptic markings, and to the realization that he's a clairvoyant descendent of an ancient tribe. Slowly, the pieces to this puzzle begin to add up, as he's able to link a string of unusual happenings and predict the cataclysmic tidal wave to come.