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Australia (Baz Luhrmann, 2008) wr. Stuart Beattie; Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman

I think I might have seen Baz Luhrmann's film twice. It's easy to forget, despite the fact that it's the second-highest grossing Oz film ever. As I may have already pointed out: it's far too long, and is more like three films than one.

Gone with the Wind, for all its faults and racial stereotyping, at least represented a world its makers believed in. Australia envisions a world intended largely as fable, and that robs it of some power. Still, what a gorgeous film, what strong performances, what exhilarating images and -- yes, what sweeping romantic melodrama. The kind of movie that is a movie, with all that the word promises and implies. Roger Ebert.

Australia is Luhrmann's ambitious vision and the filmmaker has taken heed of his own mantra that a life lived in fear is a life half lived. He's gone for broke and the result, while true to his vision, will divide opinions. The film looks magnificent but is far too long. The star power is dazzling but I didn't believe the central characters or their relationship. Nonetheless, it's an engrossing experience and one whose indelible images of a strikingly beautiful land linger. Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile.

Luhrmann ... set out to make a movie stuffed full of Australianisms. He came back with a glossy, soapy, banal mess, with a sense of spectacle and a Mills and Boon storyline more suited to American style largess[e]. Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian.

Garry Gillard | New: 23 October, 2012 | Now: 10 June, 2023