Country: United States
Director: Baz Luhrmann
NOT WORTH YOUR TIME
How much rope you’re willing to give Australia will have a lot to do with the type of movies you like. Do you adore broad, epic, romantic action movies where the motivations and characters are blazingly obvious? Do you have such an affection for old fashioned David Lean epics that you are willing to forgive massive flaws in pacing and logic? Are you nuts about Nicole Kidman or Hugh Jackman? If you said yes to all of the above, that would certainly help you enjoy Australia.
When Lady Sarah Ashley’s husband declines to sell their ranch in Australia even though they desperately need the money, the headstrong Lady Sarah (Nicole Kidman) takes the first boat to Australia to set matters straight. She ends up spearheading a cattle drive with the reluctant help of Drover (Hugh Jackman).
I know that director Baz Luhrmann was going for an old fashioned action adventure tone, but he really lays on the comedy elements and the Aussie atmosphere with a trowel. I felt like I being beaten over the head with that trowel.
It doesn’t help that Nicole Kidman is an awful light comedienne. She stomps around like an elephant. Hugh Jackman is much better, with his dry asides, even though he’s forced to participate in a brawl that seems endless, punctuated by the flinging about of lady’s undergarments (hardy har har).
Come to think of it, endless pretty much describes Australia as a whole. After the epic cattle drive, you’d think the movie is winding down, but no. We’ve got to wade through epic battle scenes out of an entirely different movie. Australia lurches along from one overwrought set piece to the next, with almost no emotional payoff. For a movie that wants to wear it’s heart on it’s sleeve, that’s just deadly.
At almost three hours long, Australia feels more like three days. I had a pretty good idea how bad Australia was going to be before I watched it, and I managed to put off my very insistent wife for at least a year, but I finally sat through it and did my best not to grumble. Now you know how much I love my wife.