1. a quick, sharp return in speech or action; counterstroke: a brilliant riposte to an insult.
2. Fencing. a quick thrust given after parrying a lunge.
–verb (used without object)
3. to make a riposte.
4. to reply or retaliate.
Peter Weir's The Last Wave (1977) is another kind of auteurist revival—an early mood-work in a career maddeningly slip-sliding between brilliant, unnerving apocalypses (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, Fearless) and bloodless, if evocatively filmed, cliché (Witness, Green Card, Dead Poets Society).
The Last Wave falls somewhere in the middle, an orthodox yet fanciful doomsday machine derived from native Aussie myth. As something of a riposte to the glut of Bible-based horrors of the '70s, Weir's glowering countdown follows a stuffy corporate lawyer (Richard Chamberlain) through the various stages of aboriginal Armageddon.
As a fantasy of smug white civilization taken down at the knees, The Last Wave is a minor triumph of atmosphere and nightmare imaginings: a schoolkid-assaulting hailstorm, sourceless water running down a carpeted stairwell, a dream of flooded urbanity as seen from inside a submerged car.
If Weir's track record for choosing projects and resisting schmaltz has been patchy, his eye for unorthodox visuals has always been evident—Australia has never seemed so unearthly as it does here. Still, its use of myth is on the obvious side, and its disjunctions are right on the surface.
And with the iconic and dreary Chamberlain engaging with the spooky scenario as pure spectator, The Last Wave musters little fallout. It doesn't approach the end-time hellfire of, say, The Rapture, possibly because Christian lore is more commonly familiar. Weir's touristy vision is strictly from the outside looking in.
Still constant, however, are the suffocating family atmosphere and [tone]-deaf repartee.
Bernadette Lafont is permitted a bit of [gumption] when she's jealous—an emotion that turns Léaud on.
Still, Blanchett is [astute] enough to mix and match her projects.
Mary Zophres' costumes and an [astutely] selected combo of Southern California locations to create a superior post-war, small-town period feel.
of mind, shrewd judgment
proof of her [business] acumen and romantic imagination
Her [financial] acumen will be a great help.
thought or senses
His [visual] acuity was remarkable.
this very New York tale is old-fashioned in good ways that have to do with solid storytelling, craftsmanship and [emotional] acuity.
quickness in both sense and mind
The acuteness of the [toothache] drove all thought from my mind.
Due to its history-spanning structure, blank-page title character and technical sleight of hand
Brit filmmaker Sean Ellis reveals a gift for formal sleight-of-hand that's ultimately more dazzling than his patly amusing script.
But where Wong [facilely] filtered the alien terrain of Soho and Reno through his own distinctive lens
The beauties in this supermarket readily identify pic as a supremely [cushy] male fantasy.