Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on June 11, 2009
I kind of wanted to see it when it was in the theaters, but it didn’t stay around that long and I missed it. Glad I saved the 9 bucks. Australia is a mess. There are four writers credited and I suspect there were lots more. And Good God, it is long! And what is it really about? Who’s story is it? Is it the beautiful boy’s? He is the best part, but even there the story is a muddle. As for genres, it’s western/romance/war epic/political drama with a dash of the Wizard of Oz for good measure. And it is one layer of cliches on top of another. Oh, and about that romance — the chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman is not even remotely there. The politically correct thread about the treatment of the Aborigines is just not that affecting. In fact, none of the epic qualities that they tried for really work. They have so many elements here to work with– the vast otherness of Australia, the archetypal evil rival cattlemen, the dark coming of the war, the upper crust English lady cum fish out of water meets outback Drover romance, the wickedly misguided white people stealing the Aborigine children — and yet there is no focus. They are trying to tell too many stories at once and end up seeming to say nothing.
I learned early in life that a story is supposed to have a beginning, middle, and end, yet these 4+ writers seem to have forgotten that lesson, because this film seems to come to an end, but then “oh no there’s more” and then it comes to and end again and then again and again and again. Maybe they should have made it as a miniseries, since that is really what it feels like. My favorite non-commital thing to say to a filmmaker when you cannot find anything else to say about their movie is, “Great production value.” 😉 And in Australia, the money is all up there on the screen. Lots of money. Money wasted. Don’t waste your time.
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