Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Have you seen Australia yet?

from w
I guess it is a must see movie, but from what I've heard it does sound full of cliches and like a Mills and Boon plot. Lots of great scenery of course. I reckon it ought to end up with the drover belting along on a horse, being tipped into a billabong etc. and his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong....etc. etc.

Here's a bit of one review:
From Times OnlineNovember 18, 2008

Review: Australia, the movie
(Twentieth Century Fox)
nne Barrowlcough, Sydney
It has every Australian cliché you could hope for, from kangaroos and Nicole Kidman to aborigines going walkabout and, yep, Waltzing Matilda. There is even, within moments of the opening scenes, Rolf Harris's wobble board.

But Baz Luhrmann's long-awaited, and over-budget epic Australia manages, against the odds, to avoid turning into one big sunburnt stereotype about Godzone country. Instead, in what turns out to be a multi-layered story it describes an Australia of the 1940s that is at once compellingly, beautiful and breathtakingly cruel.

Described as a cross between Gone with the Wind and Out of Africa it bears, in fact, little resemblance to either movie – apart from a similarly spectacular landscape as Out of Africa and a plot line that loosely resembles that of Gone with the Wind.

In this case, Lady Sarah Ashley, a passionless English aristocrat (Nicole Kidman), inherits a vast cattle station in the Northern Territories only to find that the station is the target of a dastardly takeover plot.

Much against her will, she is forced to enlist the help of a local stockman known only as Drover (Hugh Jackman), to save the station by driving her huge herd of cattle hundreds of miles across the Kuraman desert to Darwin. Which is then bombed by the Japanese.

In the worst Mills and Boon tradition, Lady Sarah – whose emotions are as frozen as Kidman's forehead – and the rough neck Drover loathe each other on sight but, as they endure the harsh and rather dusty travails of the cattle drive they quite quickly fall in love. She even teaches him to dance. Under a boab tree.

But if it sounds shallow and predictable, Australia is, in fact, anything but.

The cliches are saved by little jokes and asides, as if Luhrmann is saying 'Yes, I know, but what can you do?' In an early scene, as the newly-arrived Sarah drives toward her station, Faraway Downs, with Drover, a herd of kangaroo lopes alongside their vehicle.

As Sarah “oohs” and “aahs” with melodramatic wonder, a shot rings out and one of the kangaroos falls, killed by an Aboriginal stockman riding, literally, shot gun on the roof of the car. The horrified aristocrat spends the rest of the trip staring at the hind leg of the kangaroo hanging disconsolately over the windscreen, and the trails of blood that trek through the dust on the glass.

Later that evening she pops her head out of her tent door to behold the kangaroo being roasted for dinner plus (more importantly) the sight of a half naked Drover soaping himself down; a scene that will only do for Jackman what James Bond's swimming briefs did for Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, and will ensure Jackman as Craig's only viable cinematic rival as the heart throb du jour.

But what gives the film its heart is something else entirely. This is also the story of Nullah (Brandon Walters), a mixed race Aboriginal boy left orphaned by the inhumanity of Australian law. The 1940s was the time of the Stolen Generation, when mixed race children were banned from living either with their Aboriginal families or within the white community, but were taken from their homes to be brought up in church missions.

Nullah's increasingly frantic attempts to escape from the 'coppers' and his symbiotic relationship with his grandfather, the mystical King George, played with awesome power by the renowned Aboriginal dancer and musician David Gulpilil, is treated with a stark honesty and is what actually makes this film truly Australian in both its best and its worst sense.

etc. etc.
We may go to the movies tonight but the only thing on that I've ever heard of is the James Bond film and this new guy is just too serious. I like the humour of the early Bond films - perhaps that shows my age eh?



Blogger Alison said...

Not the sort of film I'd normaally see either, but I think I will for the scenery etc.

12:39 AM  

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