MovieChat Forums > The Last Wave (1977) Discussion > Poor Charlie (possible spoilers)

Poor Charlie (possible spoilers)


Why does David attack Charlie in the cave ?

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I really want to know this too. Violence seemed totally out of character for David. Stealing the sacred objects seemed out of character too. Maybe he attacked Charlie to keep him from stopping him.

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I believe that David thought he had the power to turn back the last wave. Charlie (or his spirit) tries to stop him, but in his panic David attacks in desperation. The locked door blocking his return, and his clumsiness in losing the sacred objects, only typifies the inevitability of the extinction. The law says that change cannot be stopped. David is only reacting with his reactionary view of the world, believing that unstoppable forces can be stopped if you want it enough, and that human wanting something is powerful enough to challenge the natural universe. The wave comes anyway. The only important act is in preparing your spirit for the journey.

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That's about as a good an answer as any I can think of (or better). Though my initial thought was that David was fairly disoriented at that point but may have had a vague notion to take the objects back with him to vindicate the imprisoned aboriginals and try to use the evidence to warn the rest of the world about the upcoming catastrophe. I agree too that it seemed that the last scene showing him kneeling by the beach represented him at the moment he came to finally accept that there was nothing he could do to prevent what was about to happen.

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Thank you very much gridsleep. I'd seen the film when it opened and always wondered about this scene. So beautifully put.

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My interpretation is that David finds artifacts in the cave that connect him with his spiritual past, which is what Charlie was actually asking him to do earlier in the film...Who are you etc.?

In his agitated state he tries to take them with him, which he shouldn't have done, because as Chris had explained earlier, this was a site of special significance to aboriginal people and Charlie was a lawman and special custodian. Charlie tries to stop him and David misreading the situation again, attacks Charlie and subsequently loses the items any way, before he reaches the surface.

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Good answers / interpretations all.

My thinking is Charlie tried to keep the artefacts in the cave in order to maintain some kind of balance, to prevent the oncoming wave or disaster. However David was possessed by some inclination to destroy everything his Aboriginal defendants held dear? What for, however, is not really explained? Maybe if there were subtitles for the aboriginal parts we could know what their significance was. David's actions/reactions remind me of the evil-minded protagonist in the recent film 'tomorrowland', i.e. project enough negativity into hearts and minds and it becomes it's own self-fulfilling prophecy. He foresaw his murdering of Charlie and hence drove himself to it!

I love this movie and the performances within it, however I think the plot is a little flawed in that the tribal lawmen (Charlie et al) don't take the sacred artefacts back to the cave at the beginning, right after having killed the thief. That's why he had the bone pointed at him right? I know the objects needed to be in police custody (as evidence) to drive the plot forward, however in my opinion, it would've been a far more fascinating film if, through his visions, David were to discover the cave by himself, earlier on in proceedings. This would've served to drive up the tension between him and the aboriginal agitators (as then he really would be the 'man who knew too much') and made for a far more intense finale.

It would also explain a lot of the apparent hostility toward him and his family by tribal elder Charlie. On that note, if Charlie saw David as such a huge threat why didn't he try to point the bone at him and end it all after their first meeting? He'd obviously guessed at most by then. Or did David have some kind of inherent power, enabling him to resist the dark magic of Charlie et al? Easy to say the director / writers left it up to our interpretation, however it may have been developed into a much more, dare I say it, water-tight supernatural thriller concept, giving the aboriginal leads more scope to reveal their magical secrets and abilities earlier on in the film.

Poor Charlie indeed. Terrific film!

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Good answers / interpretations all.

My thinking is Charlie tried to keep the artefacts in the cave in order to maintain some kind of balance, to prevent the oncoming wave or disaster. However David was possessed by some inclination to destroy everything his Aboriginal defendants held dear? What for, however, is not really explained? Maybe if there were subtitles for the aboriginal parts we could know what their significance was. David's actions/reactions remind me of the evil-minded protagonist in the recent film 'tomorrowland', i.e. project enough negativity into hearts and minds and it becomes it's own self-fulfilling prophecy. He foresaw his murdering of Charlie and hence drove himself to it!

I love this movie and the performances within it, however I think the plot is a little flawed in that the tribal lawmen (Charlie et al) don't take the sacred artefacts back to the cave at the beginning, right after having killed the thief. That's why he had the bone pointed at him right? I know the objects needed to be in police custody (as evidence) to drive the plot forward, however in my opinion, it would've been a far more fascinating film if, through his visions, David were to discover the cave by himself, earlier on in proceedings. This would've served to drive up the tension between him and the aboriginal agitators (as then he really would be the 'man who knew too much') and made for a far more intense finale.

It would also explain a lot of the apparent hostility toward him and his family by tribal elder Charlie. On that note, if Charlie saw David as such a huge threat why didn't he try to point the bone at him and end it all after their first meeting? He'd obviously guessed at most by then. Or did David have some kind of inherent power, enabling him to resist the dark magic of Charlie et al? Easy to say the director / writers left it up to our interpretation, however it may have been developed into a much more, dare I say it, water-tight thriller-like concept, giving the aboriginal leads more scope to reveal their magical secrets and abilities earlier on in the film.

Poor Charlie indeed. Terrific film!

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