Anglophile Movie Review: Australia

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I had a chance to see Australia the other day. It opened over a month ago, but I did not have a chance to go until now. I was able to see it at the local second run theater for just $3. And you what? It’s a cracking film. Well worth the $3.

I was not so impressed with the beginning. You could tell that the story was so sprawling that they didn’t quite know where to begin. The beginning was just uneven. The movie ended up being a rather serious picture and the beginning of the movie plays like a cartoon, with stereotypes of Aussies getting in brawls and the Stuffy English Lady being brought down to earth. It was a little too buffoonish for my liking, like something out of Moulin Rouge (by the same director). Then all of a sudden, this buffoonishness stops and it turns into a REAL movie. A little disjointing.

The scenery was simply breathtaking. After watching this movie, my desire to go to Australia increased greatly (even though I’ve always wanted to go). The location filming was magnificant. Shots were composed on a grand scale like old films such Lawrence of Arabia.

The plot was exciting, if a little slow to begin. The cattle drove through the outback was exciting and when it was over, I thought the movie was over! Yet it kept on going, shifting tone and story. I didn’t mind the shift, it was still fascinating.

The soundtrack was stirring and didn’t get in the way of the picture. The acting was all around excellent. Hugh Jackman is a God amongst men. Nicole Kidman does a good job playing the prissy English Lady.

The film was slightly disjointed in that it was still trying to decide what it was about almost until the end of the movie. Is it a frontier movie? Is it a movie about the horrors of rascism? Is it a love story? Is it a war movie? It’s all of them, and it does them all well.

It came to a satisfying finish and I walked out of the theater very pleased. I will highly recommend this movie to fellow Anglophiles.

I give it 4 out of 5 Union Jacks because of the film’s unevenness. It’s not a perfect movie, but I’ll definitely buy this one on DVD.

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