stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman
directed by Baz Luhrmann
out now on DVD
I have been looking forward to seeing this movie and sat down and watched it tonight. But then I like Baz Luhrmann's movies - 'Strictly Ballroom', 'Romeo + Juliet' and 'Moulin Rouge'.
With 'Australia' you get everything - a cattle drive, romance, humour that makes you laugh, and a war film.
The story concerns Lady Sarah Ashley who arrives in Australia to find her husband murdered and the cattle ranch under threat from the local cattle baron King Carney. The manager of the ranch turns out to be in Carney's pay and is sacked.
To save the ranch she hires a man called Drover to drive 1500 head of cattle to Darwin to complete an Army contract. Carney's men do everything they can to prevent the cattle reaching this destination by first causing a stampede and then poisoning the water.
Against this background is the story of an aboriginal half-caste boy, Nullah, who the authorities want to make the boy 'white'. (This was the subject of 'Rabbit Proof Fence').
Against the odds the cattle reach Darwin and Carney blames his foreman, Fletcher, for this. Fletcher gets his revenge on Carney and takes over the cattle company determined to wipe Sarah Ashley's ranch from the face of the earth - and makes sure that Nullah is taken into care to put the pressure on.
Sarah returns to Darwin to help the war effort and on the day that she is allowed to visit Nullah the Japanese bomb Darwin. Believing Sarah to be dead Drover goes in search of Nullah who is trapped on Mission Island as the Japanese land there.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie that kept me interested to the point that I didn't notice that it was just over 150 minutes long. Nicole Kidman does well with her role the begins with her being spoilt to her naivety of the ways of the outback to becoming a fully fledged cattlewoman.
Certainly worth watching.