Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Australia - The Movie

I expected Australia to be a sweeping epic drama set in the outback of Australia that was cinematically beautiful and perhaps with some of the melodrama of another Nicole Kidman flick - Far and Away.

With those expectations in mind, Australia surprised me. It was a long, cinematically beautiful film set mostly in the outback, but especially in the first half it was also whimsical and clever, with some of the spastic timing that Baz Luhrman seems to like so much.

australia the movie_ stills (132)

I laughed a lot, and I really didn't expect to laugh at all.

The first half of the movie is about Nicole Kidman's character coming to Australia to take charge of her husband's dealings with Far-Away-Downs, a plot of the land in the far north of Australia. On her arrival she finds a bit of a motley crew is running the place and her husband has been killed, and then discovers that her livestock is being stolen by a corrupt employee. I won't reveal what all happens next, but it is an interesting story.

australia the movie_ stills (27)

The movie dealt honestly with the treatment of Aborigines without being heavy-handed. I appreciated Drover's character who is totally comfortable in the Aboriginal world and is able to recognize the importance of the traditions that form the identity of their people.

It was just... a good movie. Fun to watch. I mean... that really isn't surprising considering how much air time Hugh Jackman gets.

australia the movie_ stills (41)

australia the movie_ stills (100)

Oops, did I just say that out loud?

But really, probably the best acting is done by the little guy who plays Nullah.

Australia Nullah

He is just an adorable kid, and is so believable and impish the entire time. I love his accent and the way he says, "Them white fellas..." It's Nullah's character that really makes the movie stand out.

The strange thing is that the first half of the story feels like a succinct plot, and after the climax and resolution of that drama it really feels like the movie should be ending, when really you've just finished the first half. A second story-line begins at this point and is much heavier and more dramatic, this time set in the Japanese bombing of Darwin. Both parts of the movie were enjoyable, but it was strange to have two distinct stories.

Anyways, I recommend the movie.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm I appreciate that review a lot... maybe the ones I read had just been dealing predominately with the second half? I'm a lot more interested in seeing it now.