Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This weekend's movie of choice was Australia starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. Directed by Baz Luhrman, this film has been getting a lot of hype as an Oscar contender. I had seen the previews and I was interested even before I knew who was directing, but once I saw his name, I was really excited. If you like sweeping, and over the top and sometimes strange, Baz is your guy. Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, all great movies in my opinion. So, with an almost 3 hour running time, I settled into the theater for something I knew I was going to like. I was not disappointed.
The movie is set just before the US entered WWII, in, obviously, Australia. Lady Sarah Ashley (Kidman) is going to Australia to force her husband to sell a failing business venture, a cattle ranch in central Australia. She arrives just as he is killed, apparently by an aboriginal man named King George. She is ready to sell the place when she meets Nullah, a half Aborigine child fathered by her husband's ranch manager, who is also a really bad guy. Nullah tells "Miss Boss" (Lady Ashley, Kidman) that the manager has been stealing cattle. The manager of course denies it, and tries to take it out on Nullah. Lady Ashley strikes him with a horse whip and he leaves, vowing revenge.
Miss Boss decides to drive the cattle to sell herself. She hires the Drover (Jackman) to help her push cattle. Romance ensues. I'm not going to go any farther, because if I did, I wouldn't stop until the end, and this post would take 3 hours to read.
The cinematography for this film is nothing short of epic. The land is beautiful, and plays a starring role. This film readily calls to mind others like Gone With the Wind, or, forgive me, Titanic. The CGI was, in my opinion, seamless. There were many times that we wondered how much was real and how much was computer.
The acting was wonderful on all sides but Brandon Walters (Nullah) really stole the show. He was so charming, it was heartbreaking. He played perfectly the mixture of wild and cultured Australia that his character embodied. Plus, he has eyes the size of dinner plates.
Last, but not least, if anyone out there disagreed with the appointment of Hugh Jackman as the sexiest man alive, they had not seen this movie. They need to.
This film was a western, an action flick, a war movie, a comedy, a romance and more. Despite the long running time, I didn't want it to end. The costumes were also superb. Lady Sarah Ashley was impeccably dressed throughout the film, and her dress really represented her character. In the beginning, her clothes were tight fitted, neutral colors, and very stuffy. The look changed and developed through the film and evolved as her character did.
I could go on for hours, but I'll leave you with this tacky cliche. I laughed, I cried, I grabbed Jason's hand really tight.
I give this movie a raging 10 out of 10 fat cheeky bulls.