12/30/2008

Movie Review: Australia

I'd my doubts about this film. Newspaper reviews said it'd be better off as a musical, the word "Crikey" tossed too much around...After sitting through roughly 3 hrs of that film, I'd say they were DEAD WRONG. I totally enjoyed it! My 1st reason would be Hugh Jackman.

*sigh*

On to the review!

The Plot
Set prior to World War 2, Lady Sarah Ashley came from England to Australia, determined to coax her philandering husband, Maitland, to sell his cattle ranch, Faraway Downs. He arranged for her to be picked up by the Drover, an independent cattle drover who "works for no one". However, he was murdered just as they reach Faraway Downs & she is shocked. Fletcher, the station master, informs her that he suspects King George, a Aborigine to be responsible for her husband's death. She then meets Nullah, a half-caste boy; he hides from the white authorities to avoid being one of the Stolen Generations, removed from their families to "breed out the black" in them.

She learns that one of the men working on her husband's ranch, Fletcher has betrayed her husband to help King Carney, a rival to gain total cattle monopoly in the Northern Territory & she subsequently fires him. She now has to send cattle down to the Northern Territory for the ranch's survival & enlists the help of the Drover. They are joined by Nullah, Flynn (the ranch's accountant), & Magarri (Drover's Aboriginal brother-in-law) to send the cattle down. Nullah tells Lady Sarah that King George is his grandfather & she forms a strong maternal bond with him. Along the way, they were sabotaged by Fletcher & Carney's men but they survived & sent their cattle to Northern Territory. Lady Sarah restores Faraway Downs' glory & embarks on a romance with the Drover.

Years passed; Fletcher murders King Carney & frames it as an accident. He marries King Carney's daughter Catherine & takes control of Carney Ranch. It is revealed that Fletcher murdered Maitland & is Nullah's father. Nullah asks to join King George on the "walkabout", a ritual to signify his coming-of-age. This caused a quarrel between Lady Ashley & Drover; he leaves her & Nullah is captured by the white authorities. He is sent to Mission Island along with other half-breeds.

Lady Sarah is determined to help him & works as a radio operator, but her hopes are dashed when Mission Island was attacked by the Japanese. The Japanese attacked Darwin & she was thought to be killed, but it is revealed that Catherine Carney was killed instead. The Drover was devastated thinking that Lady Ashley was killed in the attack & sailed to Mission Island, where he rescued Nullah & other children. They returned to Darwin where he finds Lady Ashley alive. Fletcher, wild with grief over his dead wife, attempts to kill Nullah but King George stops him. They then return to Faraway Downs to be a family. Ta-da...

The Cast
Nicole Kidman is amazing, she delivers her role perfectly, every emotion coming across smoothly (shock, awareness, fear, courage, love); another stunning performance from Nicole Kidman. Hugh Jackman doesn't only look good (look REALLY good), he acts really good too! The Drover's irritable, rough, sexy nature fits Jackman perfectly & there's no one else who'd look as amazing topless & wet...Brandon Walters is a new screen presence, his narration as Nullah is poignant, honest & innocent. His acting is wonderful, there's a talent in this young actor that is displayed well here. David Wenham is great as Fletcher, I hated his character, he plays the conniving, ambitious, slick villian perfectly well. Definitely a versatile actor; remember Faramir from LOTR? That's him, girls & boys.

The Music
Written by David Hirschfelder, the score is amazing; if Baz Luhrmann cleverly manipulates the lighting & scenery to focus on central themes, David Hirschfelder knows how to develop the music in-line with the film & it's certainly a musical treat!

Conclusion
Fantastic film, the story is balanced; there's a right mix of romance, comedy, adventure, drama & another great offering by Baz Luhrmann. Epic, I'd say. A great story, amazing cast, fantastic music: definitely an awesome film to watch at the end of 2008! The scenery is breathtaking, Baz Luhrmann certainly captures the rough beauty of the Australian landscape. An epic film, indeed.

8 comments:

Justin said...

Is it assume at the end of the movie that Nullah comes back after his Walkabout?

Rowan said...

I suppose he does, it wasn't very clear to me though :p

Justin said...

Well, the ending wasn't very clear what happens to Sarah or Drover either. My theory is something was cut at the end of the movie. Although, it is still a good reconciling with the black and white.

Rowan said...

I thought the ending was pretty good, despite being a subtle cliffhanger :p

I've a feeling Sarah & Drover got married, had children, Nullah comes back to them :)

espree said...

Urgghhh..Im dying to watch this..haha..Totally my kinda show!
(based on ur review la)

Rowan said...

Yeah you should watch it, it's really for girls like us! :D

meandering pearl said...

Hello! i found your blog while i was searching images...i think they may have left the ending open for Australia 2? & i loved the movie too! ps, your blog is a breath of fresh air! have a lovely day!!!

Justin said...

Well, you would think that but it is not likely. Baz admitted that he had three alternative endings to the movie. So, the movie could have gone in different directions. I still believe that something was cut at the very end. I have seen movies that cut scene at the very end and have them available on DVDs as part of the deleted scenes. After watching the deleted scenes, you sometimes wonder why the director cut so much at the end. Therefore, I don't think they will make an Australia 2 but a strong possibility of a miniseries leading to the events after Australia.