Friday, May 8, 2009

AUSTRALIA

Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Bryan Brown, David Gulpilil,
Jack Thompson, David Wenham, Brandon Walters



I love Hugh Jackman. But apparently not enough to watch his antics in Wolverine. Heh. Well I'm not into superheroes or mutants or whatever Wolverine is, period.

So I settled for "Australia". An epic masterpiece from the ultimate Australian director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet). And I wasn't disappointed one single bit.

The cinematography was fantastic. The wide angle shots of gorgeous Aussie landscape was breathtaking. The film was peppered with aerial shots of the barren land gleaming with a wide array of colors. There were also vibrant scenes of the city of Darwin in the early 1940s. The war scenes were also very devastatingly authentic.

The characters wore the appropriate wardrobe depicting that era. From the elegant clothes of Nicole Kidman to the rugged dressing style of Hugh Jackman, everything was well portrayed.

The mostly Australian cast all projected well on screen. Kudos goes to the young boy who portrays the half cast aborigine, Nullah. He seemed very professional for his first acting job. His expressive facial features, his perfect diction (very evident as his voice narrates the story) and his natural acting skills all contributed to making Nullah such a sympathetic and endearing character.

Of course the very attractive Nicole Kidman with her porcelain skin, her pouty lips and her really thin waistline was a joy to watch. Even though there are times when her character came out as a caricature of the typical snobbish English aristocrat. But she redeems herself towards the end with really heavy dramatic sequences.

Hugh Jackman well he was perfect in his role as the Drover. He is tall, dashingly handsome and very eloquent whether dressed to the nines or in rugged attire. He reminds me of the consummate Hollywood actor of the golden era. The likes of Cary Grant and Rock Hudson. So you can't blame me if I was swooning over him like some giggling high school girl. Although it was a bit strange that we never find out his real name!

The plot was quite long. Playing at 2 hours and 45 minutes, of course there would be some scenes which should have been edited. But it had all the right ingredients to make it an epic. You have an enduring love story with enough conflicts to cause a war. Heavy drama tinged with tragedy. Some historical angles about the Australian government's treatment of the aborigines as well as the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese during World World 2. Simply amazing cinematography. Plus the ingenious part of paying tribute to one of the most recognized songs in cinema history "Somewhere over the Rainbow" from the classic movie "Wizard of Oz". The song with its various versions carried the perfect tune for the entire film.

I conclude by saying that even though the film did come across as a fancy romp through the Australian outback for Lady Sara Ashley (Nicole Kidman) and the Drover (Hugh Jackman) or one very long glossy ad campaign for the Land Down Under, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hugh Jackman totally rocks!

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