November 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Suzie's Movies

After viewing countless films on a regular basis, cinema fans come to recognize their favorite directors much the way casual movie goers recognize their favorite actors. For me, Clint Eastwood gives us gritty realism, Ron Howard will often show us how even a ‘usual Joe’ can live an exceptional life, Michael Moore will no doubt show us something we would rather not see (or know) and Baz Luhrman… well that usually means I’m coming away from the movie with a headache. Baz Luhrmann gave us “Moulin Rouge” with it’s beautifully color saturated scenes unfortunately edited by what I have often referred to as “a rabid hamster on crack”. He’s a lover of the millisecond edit cut and zips about his movie scenes as if he’s directing on a turbo-charged segway. So it was with reluctance that I sat down in the theater to view Australia. The lure of Hugh Jackman as a cowboy was just too much to resist.

“Australia” takes place in the time frame of World War II. The primary story-line is about a priggish English woman (Nicole Kidman) who comes to Australia to confront her suspected, philandering husband. In her mind, he’s simply not wrapping up business fast enough in arranging the sale of their down under ranch. She travels to the ranch in order to speed up the process only to find, after she arrives, that her husband has been murdered. Finding  herself with an undervalued cattle ranch, 2000 head of cattle and no one to help her drive them to the dock she wonders if coming to this strange, far away land was a mistake.  Enter Hugh Jackman as Drover the driver. Now, to be honest, at this point I got a bit distracted because Hugh Jackman takes his shirt off and all I remember in the way of dialogue was “blah blah blah, NO! NEVER! blah blah blah, Not if you were the last woman on earth! Blah blah blah, something something, Oh look! A kangaroo! Something something ” Then Jackman puts his shirt back on and the movie continues. (Hugh Jackman makes me feel like Homer Simpson eyeing a ham. And no, I have no shame in this regard.)

Our heroine soon finds herself in care of a young, Aboriginal orphan played by new comer Brandon Walters.( Note: Keep an eye out for this kid. He’s a great little actor and has the face of an angel.) She then gets thrown into the position of boss lady of the ranch, and the object of contention with a competing rancher. She withstands numerous trials including a cattle drive through a vast wasteland and  the bombing of Darwin, Australia by the Japanese. It’s a whole lot like “Gone With The Wind” except with Kidman and Jackman in the roles of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable and substitute WWII for the Civil War. And, just like GWTW, Australia is epic in size and nature with multiple conclusions. They could in fact put out a 2H movie, a 2:20 movie or the as seen in theaters today 2:45 movie depending on where they choose to end the film.

So, do I recommend seeing Australia? Sure, why not? Even though it’s not a fantastic movie it’s a good movie to see on the big screen. It is a beautifully filmed, loving tribute Australia that will, no doubt, make its tourism industry explode. And, like I said earlier, it has Hugh Jackman… as a cowboy… he takes his shirt off. Why aren’t you in line for this yet?



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