Director Baz Lurhrman has done it again with his epic film "Australia," which opened in the U.S. on Thanksgiving, or at least I give it a big thumbs up. It has not done well in the U.S., but I think of "Gone With the Wind," when I think of "Australia."
Starring People Magazine's "Sexiest Man of the Year," Hugh Jackman, and Nicole Kidman, I was mesmerized by all of it, though admittedly the first half sometimes dragged. I loved the cattle driving and horse driving scenes--and the unbelievable scenery in the outback. The cinematography, the acting, the battle of good vs. evil, and that mystical, mythical romantic and familial love we all long for, is all there.
It is based on the Aboriginal tradition of story telling, which is a subject very dear to my heart. When I Googled reviews, the one that explained this connection best was Pop Matters. The narration is done through the eyes of a "half-breed" 12-year-old boy named Nulla, hauntingly played by Brandon Walters. It is 1939 and racism and classism are rampant in Australia. The first half is before WW II on an outback cattle station and the second half focuses on the horrors of war in an Australian port city. The song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" will be in my head for weeks to come along with Nulla's medicine man grandfather who mystically teaches and watches over Nulla, usually from afar.
I'll definitely buy this film for my own collection, but it's grandeur and sound has to be seen in a theater with a large screen and great sound to really experience it. At least that's my opinion. And--the film and music of "The Wizard of Oz" weaves its way through "Australia." In retrospect it seemed like a story within a story, within a film et al.
I have not particularly been a Jackman fan but Sunday night a man fell in love with me in a dream--and I was a mess--an amputee fleeing for my life in a desert. (Very complex dream.) As soon as Australia opened and I saw "Drover," Jackman's character, I gasped. My dream man was Hugh Jackman. Ah, life!