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First review: Baz Luhrmann's movie Australia is a winner for Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman

Review by Claire Sutherland November 18, 2008 01:43am

HE SET himself an enormous challenge, but Baz Luhrmann has pulled off an incredible film in Australia.

Shoehorning two complete films into one package, Australia sees Nicole Kidman as Lady Sarah Ashley, a privileged aristocrat drawn to the outback to sell her late husband's failing cattle station.

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.

Gallery Kidman, Jackman on the set
Gallery New mum Nicole Kidman
Related storySpecial section: Australia the movie
External Link Australia: Official website
External Link About the production

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.

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Latest Comment:

Norman Eather writes:

Australia is simply the best movie I have ever seen.There is some fiction mixed in with history but a lot of facets of history are relived in a most telling and interesting manner and all very relevant to the late thirtys/early fortys era.Some media critics have made it their business to bag Nicole Kidmans acting but no one else could have pulled off the performance of a lifetime as she did and the other Australian actors all performed exceptionally well.There was a good storyline with plenty of action suspense and high drama along with well known skulldugery the Top End has been famous for throughout its early history. The name of Lady Ashfordleys Cattle Station Faraway Downs is an absolute gem the photography and scenery were absolutly outstanding.I am a former cattle rancher retired from North Queensland and I recognize that the people who put it all together and made it happen did put in a tremendous effort over a long period of time and all those involved do in my oppinion deserve an Oscar for Effort!!

Posted at 11:18pm December 03, 2008

Christine Marvelli of Perth Western Australia writes:

I loved Australia it was brilliant I never lost interest from start to end Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman looked so good together its an Australian version of Gone With The Wind. The scenery was sensational.

Posted at 11:36am December 03, 2008

Tibor Pinci of Coffs Harbour writes:

After all the critics and their negative comments I just didn't know what to expect. I was delightfully entertained. Not once did I check my watch. I was totally involved in the story, scenery and characters. Nicole was wonderful and was totally immersed in her character. I had to shake my head in dismay through the movie thinking about what sort of people had made comments to sabotage this movie. Not a dry eye in the movie at the finale. I know I could see this again which is not something I can easily do. Fantatstic Baz and his crew!

Posted at 4:12pm December 02, 2008

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