Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Movie name: Australia
Year of release: 2008
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Brandon Walters, David Wenham, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, Bill Hunter, John Jarratt, Jacek Koman
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

"Australia" is Baz Luhrmann's 4th film since 1992. In 16 years his production has been rather meager, and his results have been very mixed. Unlike a lot of opinions I found "Moulin Rouge" extremely overrated, though I did admire his approach in "William Shakespeare's Romeo+Juliet". With "Australia" Luhrmann set out to create his own version of "Gone With the Wind" taking place in his native country. He decided to throw the love story between people of different backgrounds, with the eruption of second World War AND the social agenda that surrounded the treatment of the native Australians. The results are again mixed. On the positive side, there's the definite feeling of the epic, the photography and the entire production design that are exquisite. On the weaker corner, we have all the clich├ęs that have been treated in the most conventional of ways - the screenplay follows all the formulas, which even though sometimes it can be interesting, in this case feels a bit tiresome and overblown. The actors also give mixed performances - Nicole Kidman who did a terrific work last year in "Margot at the Wedding", here becomes almost too artificial when some more naturalistic approach would be commendable (I for one, think this would have been a perfect role for Naomi Watts). Hugh Jackman, filling for Russel Crowe, does his best rugged with a heart impression, takes off his shirt quite often, but still his character needed some extra charisma that is surely missing. The bad guy, handed off to David Wenham, barely registers. This is a film that relies on the visuals that it presents, and it doesn't fail in that department. It's unfortunate that all the rest does.