A sweeping historical epic, Australia is a chick flick with a capital ‘C.’ Though for the first little while of it’s monumental two and three quarter hour runtime, it did behave a little schizophrenic, not knowing whether it was going to be a serious drama or a slightly camp, cheesy comedy drama. Fortunately Australia finds it’s groove and heads down the serious drama with a huge hit of romance road, creating what could be described as McCleod’s Daughters meets Gone with the Wind.
Not being a fan of either McCleod’s or Gone, I was sitting squarely outside the intended demographic on this one, but found myself engrossed in the storyline (once the movie had decided what direction it was taking) and didn’t find any parts of the movie that should have been relegated to the cutting room floor.
Unlike an action movie, Australia was about the people and their stories, in fact having stories to tell was an integral part of the movie’s theme, suggesting that all that is worth caring about in this life is the story of our life. In another schizophrenic moment, Australia decides to be a political statement, trying to encompass Australia’s Stolen Generation with some heavy-handed statements right after the final scene. Sadly this was a tad redundant as the movie had done a great job of giving the viewer a pretty decent overview of the situation, with an overlying theme of what ownership really entails and how we have to let things go before our grip on them destroys what they are.
Visually Australia is simply stunning, with the outback turning in an amazing performance as a backdrop to the story unfolding on the screen. The scenes at Darwin when the Japanese attack were visually dynamic and as good as any recent war movie and added some respite from the romance.
Racism is proved unfounded and the church redeems itself through the acts of a brave few, but in the end it’s all about two people and our inability to allow ourselves to be vulnerable so that we can be loved.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read
Rating: [M] Suitable for mature audiences 16 years and over.
Released on: April 24th, 2009
Year of Original Release: 2008
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Joel Edgerton, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, Brandon Walters, Ray Barrett, Lillian Crombie, Max Cullen, Essie Davis, Arthur Dignam, Sandy Gore, David Gulpilil, James Hong, John Jarratt, Ben Mendelsohn, Barry Otto, Bruce Spence
Length (Minutes): 175
Media Format: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Supported Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 5.1
Director: Luhrmann, Baz
Studio: 20th Century Fox