Australia… The Movie
Set prior to World War II, 'Australia' centres on an English aristocrat, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), who finds herself unexpectedly fighting to save a cattle station the size of Belgium. When local cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle drover (Hugh Jackman) to drive 1500 head of cattle across northern Australia’s breathtaking landscape. Love ensues, but they must still face the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier.
Nicole and Hugh both looking very happy about their parts in "Australia"
Warning... Don't enbiggen this picture if you have a heart problem
OK.. so he's currently rated "The Sexiest Man In The World" is that any reason to give him ALL the good parts?
This movie is Baz Luhrmann's baby in every sense of the words, it will sink or swim on his talents regardless of the best efforts of everyone else involved in its making.
I've seen the trailer on TV many times and a few grabs on the net and on "Oprah" but I'm waiting impatiently for the full movie before I give the world my opinion , as you know it covers a subject very close to my heart so I'm still waiting.
I've gone through the preparation stage as fully as possible, right down to a re-run of "Gone With The Wind", with which "Australia" is being compared.
It's Friday Nov 28, it's evening and I have seen Australia the movie, before getting down to a more serious review let me say that I enjoyed the movie, let me add that I think it will be a bit too "Australian" for lots of overseas viewers.
Now to get a bit more specific; Nicole Kidman played a role, to perfection, of a spoiled English aristocrat who learns fairly quickly that outback Australia will not tolerate her attitude, once that has been learned she gives a creditable performance, Hugh Jackman provides the other side of the coin, his role leaves him no where to go but further into the macho Aussie character until toward the end of an overly long movie he is at last allowed to mellow a bit, the unknown Brandon Walters who plays the mixed blood (black & white) child "Nullah" is a scene stealer of grand ability, he takes control of much of the film in such an endearing way that his future would seem to be assured.
Almost every Australian actor worth his salt gets a role in this movie, most doing a creditable job in their parts, I was disappointed with David Wenham as the evil Neil Fletcher, Wenham has done much better work than this, Jack Thomson as the drunken accountant for "Far Away Downs" as the property is so aptly named, Bryan Brown as the cattle baron who wants the property for his empire the brilliant aboriginal actor David Gulpilil who plays "King George" the wise tribal elder, all contribute to the story.
There is enough beautiful outback scenery to make an excellent travelogue, it is all well photographed although I must say its very difficult not to make this sort of scenery look good.... which just about gets me back to my original statement, that
Australia will sink or swim on the talents of Baz Luhrmann.... here we find the weak link in the chain of Australia.... he has overdone many of the themes that run through the movie and has continued with the "Theatrical" treatment of his recent works like Moulin Rouge, Strictly Ballroom, and Romeo and Juliet, this treatment in Historical outback epic was not as successful, particularly when a chunk of it was about the WW2 bombing of Darwin by the Japanese, a chunk that could easily have been omitted in my opinion.
To summarize; I will give Australia 4 stars out of 5 and repeat that I enjoyed it very much, it provided a few laughs (especially to an Australian audience) breath-taking scenery, enough moving scenes to produce a few tears, and the feeling that I had seen a worthwhile movie.