Melissa Pierson
May 10, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Last Wave

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
performer
Olivia Hamnett, Richard Chamberlain
director
Peter Weir
distributor
Rhino Video
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C+

Australian director Peter Weir is a genuine master of the portentous. As he proved with Picnic at Hanging Rock and Dead Poets Society, he can set a moody scene, tease with fascinating visuals — and pay off with little. The Last Wave, full of sound and fury, does his technique proud, but in the end it signifies…very little.

Richard Chamberlain plays a lawyer more used to the ins and outs of corporate taxes than the mysteries of aboriginal culture. When he takes on a case that may or may not be ritual murder of an aborigine, however, he finds his sympathies go deep, all the way to his dreams. They lead him to an ancient netherworld far below the streets of modern Sydney. Although the transfer to tape constrains the weird atmospheric effects — and muddies to the point of eyestrain some gradations of darkness — there are still plenty of downright scary turns. Unfortunately, as the suspense builds, so does the hooey. C+

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