Australia is an epic that should have been seen on the big screen by legions. Yet, because of a wave of misguided critics, audiences failed to find Australia.
With the film arriving on DVD this week, the Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman starring, Baz Luhrmann -creating masterpiece can finally have its due.
Kidman and Jackman’s journey
Sure, Australia is not perfect, but when Hollywood lately is producing romantic epics with the ferocity of a kitten, enjoying Australia truly satisfies beyond our lowered expectations.
This is because of its sweeping landscape and astounding performances by Jackman and Kidman. The film works on many levels, period. It is romance, drama, a bit of comedy and all classic Hollywood.
When critics lambasted the film upon its arrival in the theaters, the consensus was that the Moulin Rouge auteur had overstepped his bounds. Excuse me?It recalls the sentiment from those some reviewers when his underappreciated Romeo and Juliet took Shakespeare and delightfully put him on his head.
The same misunderstanding of a genius exists with Australia.
Where in Moulin Rouge inhabits the streets of Bohemian Paris as palette, Luhrmann has the topography of his, Jackman and Kidman’s homeland to launch his story. In their hands, no truer tale may be told.
Kidman portrays an English land-owner who arrives in the rugged terrain to claim an army of cattle and the land they graze upon. Jackman, in his gritty best (yes, even more than Wolverine), is perfectly cast as Kidman’s romantic foil.
Australia has the backdrop of history, as many films have succeed in framing their narrative. Where Australia goes beyond that, is in fact how Luhrmann uses his ambitious scope to achieve dramatic bliss that many have derided him for attempting.
Only Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings films had a better effort capturing his native country on screen. David Lean of Lawrence of Arabia also comes to mind as a director to compare this masterful work. Luhrmann is a storyteller with rare gifts and with the vast presence of Kidman, Jackman and his homeland, Australia is worth visiting repeatedly.
Australia is a sweeping romantic epic of the highest order. If Queen Elizabeth II does not add Knight of the British Order to Baz’s career titles, she too will join the legion of critics who simply for whatever reason, cannot appreciate a modern mastermind.