Tag Archives: Peter Weir

A Last Wave Unleashed

Movie night!

I like Peter Weir movies and tonight I’m watching THE LAST WAVE.

This flick gets ripped for being obscure and for not solving the mystery.

I will grant the latter. I think one of the responsibilities of artists who trade in mysteries in movies and books is they must, at some point, solve the mystery. Is that too much to ask? In both THE LAST WAVE and PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK. Mr. Weir chooses not to do so. I still like both films.

I will however, take issue with the accusation of obscurity.

Since my teens, I’ve had a literary addiction to novels and stories of the supernatural. One of my favorite British authors is from the early 20th century; Arthur Machen. Machen writes often of nature in revolt – of nature, thought to be tamed, but perpetually about to bust out and re-exert dominance over man in disorienting and disturbing ways. In this light, THE LAST WAVE makes amazing sense.

Nature hovers. Disturbing and disorienting intrusions occur.

  • Baseball-sized hail falls from a cloudless sky.
  • From his protective bubble of a car in a torrential downpour, Richard Chamberlain sees;
    • A man with an extreme umbrella drinking from a water fountain. Why doesn’t just open his mouth? No, he chooses the “tame” water over nature’s wild water.
    • A poster for the local zoo featuring apes gazing back at Chamberlain in his car. Who’s really caged and on display?
    • Vehicles crawling through snarled traffic with icons on them featuring the image of a jungle cat; jaguars in the streets.
  • At Chamberlain’s home, with the maelstrom outside continuing to rage, turning the windows of the home into images like of the inside of a dishwasher, water appears inside the house flowing down the stairs. We immediately assume there’s been a leak from the outside, but it turns out to be a bathtub overflowing. Water thought to be tamed…
  • Chamberlain’s wife admits that she’s a fourth-generation Australian, but she’s never met an aboriginal. She’s lived distanced from nature, behind societal barriers that now appear to be quite fragile.

This is not obscure. It’s mysterious and ominous, but not obscure. We think we’ve tamed and sealed out nature from our lives. (Climate change? Pshaw!)

But nature will persist. It will find a way past our barriers. It will win. How scary is that? Nothing obscure at all.

It’s a fine and effective film.

War on Geezers-I Dread the Day

Movie Night!

I’m watching LOOK BACK IN ANGER on a tape I made from an early 90’s TV broadcast on Bravo.

It’s not a great film and Richard Burton’s performance is quite over the top, but I love this script. I did some scene work from it in college and remember being so mightily impressed even then. It’s an interesting film and well worth the time invested.

Or is it?

Seeing the film again and seeing the quality of Bravo’s 1990’s offerings sent me into a geezer moment.

You’ve been warned.

I am not one to long for the good old days. I am quite happy with how today went and look forward to an even better day tomorrow.

However, I do think I preferred a world where Bravo showed LOOK BACK IN ANGER and KAGEMUSHA and PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK to a world dominated by Fox and MNBC and six (or even one, for that matter) consecutive episodes of “Real Wives of OC” (on Bravo tomorrow – lucky us).

I also think I preferred a world where if I disagreed with you about something it didn’t immediately escalate and become labeled as a war on whatever.

I think I preferred a world where bigger wasn’t always better, where louder wasn’t always right, where different was just different and perhaps not to my taste (like Richard Burton in this flick) but OK.

I think I preferred a world where a lie was a lie no matter how loudly or often it was shouted and repeated.

I think I did.

I think I shoulda watched a happier flick.

A Great Scrubbing of the World?

Movie night!

I like Peter Weir movies and tonight I’m watching THE LAST WAVE.

This flick gets ripped for being obscure and for not solving the mystery.

I will grant the latter. I think one of the responsibilities of artists who trade in mysteries in movies and books is they must, at some point, solve the mystery. Is that too much to ask? In both THE LAST WAVE and PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK. Mr. Weir chooses not to do so. I still like both films.

I will however, take issue with the accusation of obscurity.

Since my teens, I’ve had a literary addiction to novels and stories of the supernatural. One of my favorite British authors is from the early 20th century; Arthur Machen. Machen writes often of nature in revolt – of nature, thought to be tamed, but perpetually about to bust out and re-exert dominance over man in disorienting and disturbing ways. In this light, THE LAST WAVE makes amazing sense.

Nature hovers. Disturbing and disorienting intrusions occur.

  • Baseball-sized hail falls from a cloudless sky.
  • From his protective bubble of a car in a torrential downpour, Richard Chamberlain sees;
    • A man with an extreme umbrella drinking from a water fountain. Why doesn’t just open his mouth? No, he chooses the “tame” water over nature’s wild water.
    • A poster for the local zoo featuring apes gazing back at Chamberlain in his car. Who’s really caged and on display?
    • Vehicles crawling through snarled traffic with icons on them featuring the image of a jungle cat; jaguars in the streets.
  • At Chamberlain’s home, with the maelstrom outside continuing to rage, turning the windows of the home into images like of the inside of a dishwasher, water appears inside the house flowing down the stairs. We immediately assume there’s been a leak from the outside, but it turns out to be a bathtub overflowing. Water thought to be tamed…
  • Chamberlain’s wife admits that she’s a fourth-generation Australian, but she’s never met an aboriginal. She’s lived distanced from nature, behind societal barriers that now appear to be quite fragile.

This is not obscure. It’s mysterious and ominous, but not obscure. We think we’ve tamed and sealed out nature from our lives. (Climate change? Pshaw!)

But nature will persist. It will find a way past our barriers. It will win. How scary is that? Nothing obscure at all.

It’s a fine and effective film.