REVIEW: ‘Australia’

Hugh Jackman
Ray Barrett
Nicole Kidman
Bryan Brown
Tony Barry
Rating: PG-13

Being in the outback for two hours and forty five minutes is a little too long for me.

Named after its setting, “Australia” tells the story of Sarah (Kidman), a woman looking to settle a cattle ranch in a rural area of the country. To do so, she gets the help of Drover (Jackman), a cowboy who assists Sarah in building up her business.

Conflict arises in the outback, though, as World War II is getting started and a romance starts blooming between the two main characters as well.

“Australia” has a major issue, and that is it couldn’t decide on what kind of movie it wanted to be. At some points it was a western adventure, other times a romantic melodrama in a rural romantic setting and finally an all out war movie

This not only made the movie feel disjointed, but it also made it appear a bit forced. It’s as if the movie was trying too hard to be this epic story in a similar vein to “Gone with the Wind.” The result is a film that has some spectacle, but little substance.

This is somewhat true with the acting, too, as they feel rather generic. However, having veteran actors such as Jackman and Kidman in the roles does lend some legitimacy and makes the characters more relatable.

Another strength for “Australia” was its look. The movie has a tremendous scope and captures the rugged land beautifully. This aspect actually can draw an audience in more than the story.

“Australia” is a movie to rent, not one to rush out to the theater to see. It offers some good performances and a gorgeous setting but the story is lacking and the plot is incoherent. 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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