I don't get it

I'm sorry, maybe I'm stupid but what happened at the end? Was their a big wave that killed him or what?

You'll have nothing and like it!
Double Farts!!!


What happened was an end of the world apocalypse that wiped out most of humanity and left the few remaining humans to rebuild from scratch in a stone age society. The movie's budget probably did not allow clearing the beach in the final scene. As Chamberlain's character was facing the end of the world, far in the distance we can see (non movie) folks enjoying their day at the beach.


Does Richard Chamberlain die in the movie?


i don't think so... he is haunted by these visions, but powerless to do anything about them. he's an ancient spirit trapped with the life and sensibilities of a modern man - he can't even tell his wife and family, muchless warn the public of impending disaster. he spends a lot of time in the surf, contemplating, i think, unsure what to do next. i love the way he walks into the surf, and suddenly is up to his thighs in sand, as if he had been standing there for hours, if not days. the huge wave is just another vision. he sees it coming.

at least, that's my take on it.

it reminds me of the tsunami - the animals, and elder people in native fishing villages, all knew to get to high ground. but "civilized" people were clueless. in this movie, there are plently of signs that something is amiss, but no one understands the signs - and they only look for the usual answers. i know, you can't really compare the two, but...



How could he have survived it?


What ending of what movie did you see? Certainly not this one. There were no scenes of anyone else enjoying days at the beach during the last wave. The last thing we see is truly horrific. It ends with the wave- no remnants of humanity picking up the pieces.



Well, it was kind of depressing either way. End of the world films always are.

"Sometimes I think the Universe just waits for me to get Cockey" ~Egon, The Real Ghostbusters


The last wave killed everyone within its range. Who would have been able to survive that wave? Remember Chamberlain's visions of the people drowning in the streets? Trust the director, sometimes you just have to go with the last scene of the film. The director's vision problably won't always be comforting- especially Peter Weir's, who's films are about the clash of the white man's civilizations against the aborigine's and the devastating consequences.
Anyway after the tsumani, it shouldn't seem too far-fetched to anyone.


there was no big wave it was all in his mind.


The way I interpret this film is this:

Chamberlain's character gets drawn into the Aboriginal culture/mythology/Dreamtime in sort of a mystical way. He is of a sensitive nature and this makes it easier for him to experience the collective unconscious of the Aboriginal way. The whole water thing is indeed mystical and a serious part of the plot. His experience in the cave with the mask led me to believe that at this point David Burton was beginning to lose it. Remember at the end we see a wave building and building. Wave does not look natural and it would not be the first time that Burton imagined he saw something in the film. We never see the wave break. I believe what happened is that David Burton had a break with reality or a psychotic episode from which he may or may not recover. The last wave for him was like the straw that broke the camel's back. It was all in his mind. Peter Weir did a fantastic job with this film. . one of my all time favorites.


It is open to interpretation but I think he is having a vision of the wave that will inevitably come, but not the actual wave.


My take.

There are two parallel realities, dream time and what we moderns see as reality. Moderns have cut themselves off from dream time and don't understand the reality there and how it interacts with our own waking reality. The tsunami arose in dream time and was about to intrude into the modern reality. Peter saw this happening but did not know how to interpret it because he had cut himself off from dream time as a young boy. His foretelling the death of his mother through his dreams resulted in a deliberate attempt to suppress them, both on his own part, and on the part of his minister stepfather.

Defending the aborigines reawakened the power of his connection to dream time, causing him to experience another premonition -- this time of the tsunami. The aborigines knew what he was experiencing because they recognized him as a special being from the tribe the sunrise. The pictures of his mother's grandfather with the snakelike object confirmed that linkage to the owl man.

Given the totality of imminent destruction, the court case became almost trivial from the standpoint of the aborigines. They realized that the more powerful determinant of events was dream time, which was the source of the wave. And, it appears from the ending, they were right. The first flood, which occurred in ancient times, might be compared to what many consider "Noah's Flood". This one was the "Last Wave", presumably sealing the final triumph of the dream world over the modern world construct.

All in all a good film, but I thought it dragged at the end. A little less sewer crawling would not have hurt the film in any way. Superb acting. Definitely worth seeing.


A metaphorical tsunami or a literal tsunami? As in, could the tsunami be a manifestation of some great cosmic event that erupts from the other side -- not necessarily involving water? I can't help but think about this film now that Australia is just about burnt to a cinder from drought.

This is not a psychotic episode. This is a cleansing moment of clarity.


Does anyone know if the concept of "Mugru" actually exists in Aboriginal culture?



I posted the following information on another thread on this forum that addresses the term "Mulkurul" directly. I hope that it helps.
I just found this at another site:

Subject: Re: line from the script of "The Last Wave"
From: hardtofindbooks-ga on 03 Feb 2006 15:36 PST

the word is Mulkurul
here is the part you mentioned:

"Are you a fish?


Are you a snake?
Are you a man?

Who are you?
Who are you?

Who are you?
Who are you?

Who are you?
Who are you?

Are you Mulkurul?


here is some exposition from earlier in the film relating to a carved stone:

"This one I've seen before.
A spirit from the Dreamtime.
Aborigines believe in two forms of time - two parallel streams of activity.
One is the daily objective activity o which you and I are confined.
The other is an infinite spiritual cycle called the Dreamtime...
more real than reality itself.
Whatever happens in the Dreamtime establishes the values, symbols
and laws of Aboriginal society.
Some people of unusual spiritual powers have contact with the Dreamtime.


Through their dreams. Through ceremonies involving sacred objects like
these stones.
What is the name of that spirit?
Ah. Its name is one of the few words recorded from a tribe once active
in Sydney. - Now extinct, of course.



This is a name given to a race of spirits who came from the rising sun
bringing sacred objects with them like these stones.
This tribe believed that the Mulkurul expressed themselves through people
of unusual spiritual power.

You mean, they're sometimes human?

Yes, the local belief was that they acted through humans.

White men?

No. Frankly, I don't think that any of us has the spiritual powers
that tribal people expect from Mulkurul.
You see, a Mulkurul has incredible premonitory dreams.
They usually appear at the end of a cycle when nature has to renew itself.
Most primitive cultures see life in cycles.
Each cycle ends with an apocalypse of some kind.
And then there is a rebirth.

What sort of apocalypse?

Oh, usually a natural cataclysm - a freeze, a flood, a big rain."


I found this, too:
After the trial, Chris decides to take David to the tribe's secret cavern, believing Chris to be some kind of second coming of the Mulkurul, who originally brought the artifacts to Australia. The journey initially proceeds through the same sewerage-processing conduits traveled by Corman near the film's beginning. That leads ultimately to an ancient underground chamber, stone stairs, and a secret inner sanctum. There, David finds drawings that seemingly foretell all of the recent bizarre events as well as one yet to transpire: a giant wave. There's also a mask identical in its physiognomy to David's own face. Charlie, who has such supernatural powers as the ability to transform himself into an owl or to materialize or dematerialize in different places, suddenly shows up in the tribal sanctum and he and David get into a brief scuffle, most of which transpires out of the viewer's line of vision. David emerges, however, and hurriedly exits from the cavern, carrying some kind of club and the mask of himself. The return route is a struggle for David. He drops the club at one difficult spot and the mask at another, so when he finally emerges through a sewerage drainpipe onto a beach, he is empty handed and in a bit of a frenzy. He crawls his way to the shallow waters by the shoreline, rinses his face, and looks up. Then, David sees, imagines, or hallucinates, in the distance, a monstrous tidal wave bearing down on the Australian continent.
I've always believed that the wave is REAL, the culmination of David's visions.



You are not alone.