a review of The last wave by peter weir

Essay by Live4AgonyUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 1996

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SOC 118

'The Last Wave'-Peter Weir dir.(1977)

In the film, The Last Wave, the director is trying to communicate the idea of a

culture within a culture or sub culture. The dominant culture in the film is the white

members of society living in Australia. The subculture in the film is the Aborigines who

were natives to the land before the white people settled in Australia. The natives

sustained their cultural beliefs and ideologies while living in largely populated cities.

The dominant white culture imposes their laws , ideas of societal values and moral

beliefs on the native Aborigines. Forcing them to abide by a different law system and

way of life than what their peoples have practiced for hundreds of years. In the movie

the lawyer, David, represents the dominant culture to the Aborigines because he

represents the law that is controlling their fate in the white culture.

The director is also giving us many symbols or visual communication such as the

consistency of water in the film as well as, the overbearing control of darkness. The film

is shot in shadows and overall is very dark , almost forcing us to look beyond the obvious

plot and storyline and into the meaning or what the film/director is trying to tell us. The

darkness in the film can be seen as unconsciousness. It can also be seen as a prediction

of the darkness that will occur in the world when the last wave comes. The last wave

meaning a giant tidal wave that will cover the earth , killing humanity. This idea is

similar to the Christian belief in the flood that was sent down centuries ago to destroy all

the evil in the world. Also, all the modern aspects of the movie (courtroom,