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The Last Wave [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1977]

Following in the thematic and artistic footsteps of his earlier film Picnic at Hanging Rock, director Peter Weir's haunting and equally enigmatic The Last Wave comes to DVD awash in a newly struck print and an even more impressive remastered sound design. The film, as with Picnic, has garnered a faithful cult following over the years and the two films are arguably still the best productions from the versatile and prolific Australian director. With its mix of horror, mystery, and metaphysical portents, The Last Wave is a cinematic spell which never relinquishes its power to take the viewer into a world of the supernatural and beyond. The Criterion Collection disc is fantastic and makes a very nice companion piece to their release of Picnic. The film is presented in its proper letterboxed format of 1.77:1 (enhanced for widescreen TVs) and its remastered transfer was supervised by director Weir. The image is sharp and appropriately dark and murky-looking, and only occasionally appears too grainy. The disc has also been given both a newly remastered 5.1 Dolby Digital English language track, as well as a two-channel option. Both tracks are great, though the 5.1 option is preferable as it sounds more bold and full, and adds even more to the film's already heady atmosphere. Compare the two tracks during the opening rain of hail sequence and enjoy the difference. In terms of extras, a nice video interview with the director has been included, wherein he talks briefly about working with the tightly knit group of aboriginal actors and actor Richard Chamberlain's stamina and courage during the film's finale set in the sewers below Sydney, among other things. The original theatrical trailer has also been included.

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    Special Features

    • New digital transfer supervised by director Peter Weir and enhanced for 16x9 televisions
    • Interview with director Peter Weir
    • Original theatrical trailer
    • English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
    • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition


    The Last Wave
    Peter Weir follows up on his critically acclaimed masterpiece Picnic at Hanging Rock with this surrealist psychological drama. The film opens with a freak hailstorm in Australia's outback. Cut to David Burton (Richard Chamberlain), a well-to-do Sydney corporate lawyer plagued by visions of impending doom who is assigned to defend five accused of murdering a fellow Aborigine. The case itself proves to be mysterious -- no exact cause of death can be determined by the pathologist, and the accused remain strangely tight-lipped about the whole affair. As his visions grow increasingly weird and intense, Burton sees in his dream one of the five Aborigines, Chris (David Gulpili of Walkabout fame), who is drenched and clutching a sacred rock. Burton's interest in the case slides into complete obsession, and he comes to believe that not only was the murder related to an underground urban tribe of Aborigines but that Australia is about to be decimated by a massive, apocalyptic tidal wave. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Richard Chamberlain
      Richard Chamberlain - David
    • Image coming soon
      Olivia Hamnett - Anne Burton
    • David Gulpilil
      David Gulpilil - Chris Lee
    • Image coming soon
      Frederick Parslow - Rev. Burton
    • Image coming soon
      Athol Compton - Billy Corman

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