On to the review!
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.
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.
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!
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.