HE SET himself an enormous challenge, but Baz Luhrmann has pulled off an incredible film in Australia.
But she's soon drawn to the landscape, a little Aboriginal boy called Nullah, played startlingly by newcomer Brandon Walters, and a taciturn drover (Hugh Jackman) who reluctantly helps her save her property.
The film begins with surprising slapstick and trademark Luhrmann over-the-top humour - a scene featuring Jackman giving himself a bath with a bucket is pure beefcake and proud of it - but settles into a compelling and moving tale which traverses war, race relations, class and the Stolen Generation.
It's a movie with a message, but Luhrmann provides the audience with no shortage of thrills, from a cliff hanger cattle stampede to the bombing of Darwin.
Kidman and Jackman are perfect together, Jackman's broad speaking drover a perfect foil to Kidman's snooty English rose.
Australia is full of familiar faces, from David Gulpilil to David Wenham, Bryan Brown to Ben Mendelsohn, but not so familiar places, to many Australians anyway.
Australia features some of the most beautiful photography ever seen in an Australian film, from the Bungle Bungles in the Kimberley to the Northern Territory in the midst of the wet season.
A love letter to the Australian landscape and our history, Australia has international blockbuster written all over it.