Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Australia: the 1950s blockbuster reborn

To see Baz Luhrmann's sweeping epic Australia last night. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman shine in the story of a British aristocrat who finds herself on a ranch in the Northern Territory fending off attempts by a local mass cattle rancher to buy her late husband's estate with the help of his evil sidekick. Her doggedness leads her on a mass cattle drive north to win an army contract to supply the troops. But with the backdrop of the Second World War - which saw Japanese bombs strike Darwin - and the scene-stealing presence of the mixed race boy Nullah (played by Brandon Walters) and his efforts to assert the aboriginal side of his identity and escape the clutches of the missionaries, this is an epic on a grand scale. Like the best of the 50s blockbusters, it touches all the emotions, and while it may lack the 'message' of a Rabbit Proof Fence, it holds the attention for all of its 165 minutes.

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