AUSTRALIA

on

2008

DIRECTOR: Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann at his best, Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge! and without a doubt his best work, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, can be one of the most promising talents in the business. But it’s clear that the more edgy and artistic he goes, the better the results. Here, we have what appears to be an epic about the vast untamed continent of Australia. What we actually get is a bloated throw back to the heyday of the 1980’s Aussie saga mini-series.

But in that sense, it’s great. It really captures that nostalgic feel of those dramas, but is that how it was sold to us? No. But saying that, I’m not sure how it was sold to be honest. The pros are that the films was fun, enjoyable and looked great with some solid performances from the leads, Kidman, Jackman and the villainous David Wenham and the effects were ‘bladdy gad to boot!’

But not all was good. The running time was too long, though not cripplingly so, and the tone was confused. It seemed to want to be an epic but was made for the wrong era, again, looking more at home in a schedule along side Home And Away and Prisoner: Cell Block H. Was it a knowing homage to those films or simply misjudged?

Either way, these points bothered me but not to the extent that film was ruined as a result. I enjoyed it and would defiantly watch it again, but this was not Luhrmann’s finest hour, and far from his proudest. He needs to stick to his outlandish and fantastical style, which suits him best. This was just too conventional and in the end, lacked enough drama or weight that would be needed to produce a modern epic of this type.

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