Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.
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In northern Australia at the beginning of World War II, an English aristocrat inherits a cattle station the size of Maryland. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn stock-man to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier. Written by
I have been looking forward to 'Australia' for a long time. Though the experience from 'Australia' isn't as magical as Baz Luhrmann's spectacular 'Moulin Rouge' nor is it as well executed (on the technical side), but I still found it very enjoyable. 'Australia' works on multiple levels. The film is a mixture of adventure, action, romance and detailed history (like in any larger than life epic movie). All of them are put well together in the film. Luhrmann's vast imagination and creativity is very evident in his portrayal of the aboriginal culture and how that's where the heart of Australia lies. To move the story further, Luhrman shows the conflict of the aboriginals with the Europeans and its chaotic result. The film introduces plenty of historical themes and serves as a thumbnail. Yet, Luhrmann does not shy away from experimenting with the magical side of his film. The main story itself is very formulaic but enjoy it like you would see a Hollywood blockbuster and roll along.
The Australian landscape is dazzling to look at. It's a country that has always fascinated me and arises my desire to go there and such movies only remind me of that feeling. Mandy Walker's cinematography is fantastic allowing landscape itself to serve as a key character (for obvious reasons). The lighting could have used some betterment, especially in the action scenes where they used blue screen filter (it was painfully obvious). I also felt that the CGI was overused and at times it does interfere with the natural beauty in the background. The soundtrack is awesome as its a mixture of spiritual beats and old classics.
At the centre of 'Australia' is an Aboriginal child of mixed race, Nullah, who is played by a likable Brandon Walters. Even though Walters doesn't exactly get it 'right' with scenes that demanded him to display complex emotions, he does very well with the comic scenes and does not go over the top by 'being cute'. A vivacious Nicole Kidman is absolutely marvelous as the strong-minded Sarah Ashley. She displays her knack for comedy, is superbly restrained in the emotional sequences and shares a wonderful chemistry with her co-stars. Hugh Jackman's Drover may have been inspired by Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones, Paul Hogan's Crocodile Dundee and the dozens of famous Clint Eastwood characters. Jackman pulls off the part quite naturally. He and Kidman are magic on screen. The supporting cast is commendable. I liked the actors who play the colourful characters at Ashley's ranch. Jack Thompson provides some brilliant comic relief. Bryan Brown has a strong presence in a limited role and David Wenham is menacing as the evil Fletcher.
Luhrmann's attempt to entertain and amuse the viewer seems genuine and the man has done a lot of research and enlightens the viewer of Australia history. Forget these 'Titanics' and 'Pearl Harbours'. 'Australia' reminds us of the time when people enjoyed grand movies such as 'Gone With The Wind' and 'The Wizard Of Oz'. Through the numerous references, this movie pays tribute to many of the classics that have made a place in the history of cinema. Yet, this enchanting movie stands on its own.
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