Writer: Syahida KamarudinWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Gone With The Wind", "Out of Africa", "Pearl Harbor"
First, let me tell you what you should not expect from the movie. You should not expect the realistic grandeur of a timeless love story in the war era, you should not expect it to be as dull as the synopsis that you read, nor should you expect to have a linear storyline where you can make frequent visits to the loo and hope not to miss a thing.
"Australia" is like a book with lots of chapters, lots of character development and its own 'magic'. It's like a shorter version of "Gone With The Wind" and thus, moves along with quite a rapidity. It tells the story of an aristocrat, a drover, their relationship with each other, the aborigines and the Australian outback, and what happens when it all falls apart. Also, everything happens on the verge of World War II. There is a bit of corny presentations and heightened melodrama in certain scenes. However, I do believe it was intentional on the director's part, to have the little bits of fantasy to it. It also features the song "Over The Rainbow" from the film "The Wizard of Oz" as an important element to the film - a story that Kidman's character tries to comfort little Nullah with. Oz, Australia, get it?
Acting-wise, Nicole Kidman has given such a darling performance, bringing together a sense of femininity and class but with such austerity. It might not be the best performance, as we had seen better from her, but you cannot help but fall in love with Lady Sarah Ashley - her desperation to want the 'creamy' Nullah to be a part of her family, or even the look of aghast on her face when the drover shoots a kangaroo she was admiring! Brandon Walters gives a competent performance as Nullah, the 'half-caste' kid who was torn in the segregation era of the 30s and 40s, not a part of the aborigines and not wanted by the Caucasians either. Hugh Jackman looks absolutely delectable as the nameless drover. Sporting a rugged cowboy look with a Chippendale dancer-ish bod, one cannot help but to be a girly girl and gush. Sigh...
Where was I? Oh yes.
You must love the cinematography above all. From the vast Australian outback to the picturesque scenery of Darwin, it was captured splendidly and has a quality of an art in a photo frame. Throw in a beautifully crafted plot; "Australia" just takes your breath away. In truth, I would have given it five stars if it didn't end in such glorious finiteness whereby everybody is content with the outcome. Overall, I am satisfied - not perfectly incandescently happy, but truly satisfied.
Watch this because I said so. Ha.Cinema Online, 03 December 2008