“Australia” Epic and Touching

Genres: Romance and War
Running Time: 2 hr. 35 min.
Release Date: November 26th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, a scene of sensuality, and brief strong language.
Distributors: 20th Century Fox Distribution

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

JJ Rating: A-

WWII is in progress. Japan is being a bully. Australia is preparing for war. The army wants meat. Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) arrives to help her husband deal with their land that is for cattle. She finds him dead. She decides to deliver the army her cattle, but Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) has a different idea. She enlists the help of Drover (Hugh Jackman), all the while becoming a mother to Nullah (Brandon Walters) an Aborigine boy. Australia.

Epic can mean lots of things such as really long and tiresome or outstanding and awesome. I am personally using it as outstanding and awesome. I liked A.I., The Village, and The Happening while other people did not. I find such films to be unique and interesting and heartfelt. But at the same time I understand why other people fail to see it the same way. There are films like that I can muster the understanding of why it’s not liked as much as I like it. Then there are films where I am staunch advocate of its greatness. This is more of the former, I know.

The film mainly focuses on Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Brandon Walters. All three of them do an outstanding job of holding the film up for the 2 hours and 35 minutes it runs. I normally can feel the time drag as the film progresses, but I never once wondered what time it was or how long do I have left. I saw other people that felt that way while it was going on, but I did not.

Nicole Kidman is powerful in her performance. She plays a strong woman who is sure of herself as well as capable of doing as she states. She is also playful and one scene in particular has me thinking that. She has an argument with Jackman before retiring to her tent and she sticks her tongue out. It was amusing. She is also stunningly hot. Hugh Jackman is a strong male lead. He is not the same in his films. Each character is different and this one is a man’s man. His presence on screen is like a thief. Brandon Walters, however, steals my moviegoer heart. I was surprised by his performance. He had a cascade of emotion that just radiated the entire film. He could stand and use facial expressions without a single utterance of a line and convey more emotion than actors older than he and in films about visiting four parents. If a child is to get a nomination for an Oscar then he surely will be that child.

I like Baz Luhrmann as a director. I think he has great talent and is visually stunning in his films. I have not been disappointed in any of his movies that I have seen, so that was one of the pulls for me to see this film other than the two main actors. Australia has awesome visuals and stunning cinematography. I understand that some of the shots were CGI, but there are some that are just real and beautiful. Not only that, but there are beautiful shots in general such as the rain scene as pictured above. That was stunning.

Australia also has great supporting cast of characters that are funny, touching, mean, vindictive, vile, hopeful and enjoyable. It just adds more to how easy it was for me to invest in my time into watching it.

The story is long and I personally dislike long movies as a whole, but I do make some exceptions. I would sit through this one unlike sitting through the Titanic. I skip to where the ship is sinking. What can I say, it entertains me. I like stories that are set in history. The actual main story does not have to be totally true, but the history around it should try to be and I think it helps people understand what transpired back then. I’ve seen Rabbit Proof Fence and it is about ‘half-cast’ children. It tells the tale of what it was like to be such in a time where it was not accepted. Half-cast is someone who is half white and half Aborigine. They were not treated like other children and during WWII they were taken to an island that put them first to meet the Japanese when they came in for the attack.

The heart in this film was as touching as I expected it to be. I like the connection between Jackman and Kidman, but I really like the connection between Kidman and Walters. They have really great scenes together. They also have one of the best lines. “I will sing you to me.” “I will be listening.” Something to that affect, ha, considering I am not a great with remembering lines without the help of IMDB. They don’t have any up yet, so I can’t check myself.

I was engrossed from beginning to the end and never once felt tired or bored. I was entertained the entire 2 hours and 35 minutes. Australia is a Baz Luhrmann film. So if you did not like Moulin Rogue, Romeo & Juliet, or Strictly Ballroom you very well might not like this film. I enjoyed them all. I think Australia is far better than what other critics have stated. I think it is one of the best epic movies I’ve seen this year and in a while and above all it touches the heart and mind and it was the least boring 2 hour and 35 minute movie I’ve seen.

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