The Last Wave is a movie that encompasses the differences between the consumerist beliefs of the Australian settlers and those spiritual ones upheld by the aboriginal peoples of Australia. In the beginning of the film a bizarre storm strikes a settlement on the outskirts of a main city in Australia. However what makes this storm exceptionally peculiar is that it is a desert-like environment, no clouds, and dusty. Moments later huge chunks of hail come crashing down into the desert along with torrents of rain. This is done to demonstrate a curious weather pattern developing in Australia. What comes from that is a very gloomy feeling that sets the grim tone for the film, turning it into somewhat of a horror film.
The movie starts out as a simple case of whodunit involving several aborigines and the questionable death of another one. We are shown in the film that the men being accused didn’t do it but the point to be taken away from the entire case is how unfair the legal system is to the aborigines, but how compelled they are to abide by it.
“The Law is more important than the man.” (TLW. *) This quote came from the mouth of Chris Lee, an aborigine who is on trial for murder. However it is uncertain as to which law he holds the statement in regard to. While he claimed to be a citizen, he obviously moonlighted as a tribal man. This he admits in the court as he is forced to tell the whole truth and nothing but it, so help him God. The other character, a lawyer is portrayed as a lover of items, a consumer, who is opened up to the Dreamtime, what the aborigines believe is a parallel universe that exists when one sleeps.
Dreams are given exaggerated importance in the film as they allegedly communicate messages from people to people in the Dreamtime. This lawyer soon discovers that his dreams have more and more significance to the events that begin to plague the city. An ability he is told to have by an aborigine named Charley because he is a Mukrul, a being believed to have great power, that appear as men.
The aborigines operated in the city as a working tribe, though small, their purposes and spirituality remained the same. They lived by a specific code, one punished by death if it was ever broken. The people of the city continued to live on, ignorant of an impending disaster that would destroy society. Since the city-folk were less tuned in to nature, they would miss the warning that was so obviously mother earth striking back at the very demons-on-two-legs that had brought her so much grief. A great wave was predicted by the aborigines and that is how the movie ends. A wave is shown leaving the ending for the viewers to take however they wish. The wave could have been another dream of the lawyer’s, or the wave was real, which would signify the cleansing of a world polluted with consumerism.