Posted by: cosborn | December 14, 2008

Movies – Australia

Australia is a big – and I mean BIG – movie. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman are big time stars and they are both very appealing. The movie starts out a bit campy for my taste, but I have to admit I enjoyed sitting through the whole thing. There are several valid criticism you can make about Australia. It’s too big. It tackles too many big themes (WWII, taming of the Outback, treatment of indigenous people, etc.). That said – it’s still a fairly satisfying movie experience.

Jackman and Kidman are both very good. He has a true “screen presence.” Jackman does not offer much in the way of emotional range in the part, but I don’t think he was supposed to, either. He was more of a physical presence than anything, but he does make a very likable leading man. Nicole Kidman remains one of the most beautiful leading ladies anywhere. Like Jackman, she wasn’t asked to do too much from an emotional perspective, but she was also very likable. She steps into her murdered husband’s ranch, and as any strong woman on film will do – rises to the occasion. Even though it was totally predictable, you still rooted for her character.

The two best parts in the whole film were the villain, played by David Wenham (Faramir from Lord of the Rings). He was a terrific bad guy in the old fashioned melodrama vain. He was really rotten, and his character maintained a bit of a respectable facade, so the villainy was even more pronounced. Wenham had the best part in the film, and he played it to the hilt.

Brandon Walters played Nullah, and Aborignal boy who Nicole Kidman’s character takes in after tragedy strikes. Nullah provided the narrative theme to the film, and the boy was very likable.

On the whole, Australia is nobody’s excuse for a great film. But it is worth the time to see on the big screen.

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