When an English aristocrat travels to this faraway continent, she meets rough-hewn cattle driver and an enchanting Aboriginal child. This unlikely trio join forces and embarks on a transforming journey, driving a herd of cattle across hundreds of miles of the world's most beautiful yet unforgiving terrain. When their world is torn apart by powerful enemies, they must try to find each other amidst the bombing of the city of Darwin by the Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbor.
We were a little worried when we watched this Baz Luhrmann directed movie. Actually, we were more than “a little worried”. We were wondering what was wrong with Nicole Kidman. She was acting a little strangely in this movie. Actually, we thought that she was acting more than “a little strangely” in this movie. The moment the Oscar winner appeared in the movie’s fifth minute, she spoke in an unusually high pitched voice and, well, how should we put it, prancing around, with her lean and tall stature. But we continued watching, and watching, and watching, until the movie ended a good 158 minutes later.
Kidman plays the aristocratic Lady Sarah Ashley who travels from Britain to Australia in 1939 to look for her husband. There, she realises that he has been murdered and uncovers a plot where villains are planning to steal the cattle her husband owned in Australia. It is also at Down Under she befriends a cattle driver, some friendly aborigines and other colourful characters to complete the epic adventure.
And when we say epic, we mean it. Trust Lurhmann to come up with a movie with this scale after a long hiatus from Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge! (2001). Where have you been all these years, Mr. Lurhmann? The vast and grand fields of Australia are magnificently captured on screen by cinematographer Mandy Walker (Lantana, Shattered Glass). The dust specks in the wind, the flares from the sun and the heat wave in the dry lands are lyrically visualised on screen for your viewing pleasure. Add David Hirshfelder’s (Aquamarine, The Children of Huang Shi) lush score to the mix and you’ll have one satisfying treat for your senses.
Furthermore, Lurhmann has got Kidman and the underrated Hugh Jackman on board. Sure, Kidman;s acting seems a little awkward in the movie, but we’ve got Jackman and his lean mean bod to make things better. The epic nature of the movie is complemented by the epic nature of their love story, which somewhat overshadows the aboriginal element in the plot.
Never mind that, because after half an hour into the movie, we did not really care about the story development anymore. This is one guilty pleasure for the senses. You are distractedly awed by what you see on screen, and you do not care that the characters do not have much depth in them, and the story is predictably muddling. Besides, the colourful supporting characters are so stereotypically presented (the Asian servant, the self sacrificing mother, the greedy villain), you decide to have a fun time together with them, and venture into the grandeur that is Australia.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD contains a miserly two Deleted Scenes which has the characters talking about horses in one of them, and Kidman being served dinner by some angry townsfolk.
The DVD’s visual transfer does justice to the lush visuals of the movie, and you can choose to watch the movie in English or Thai Dolby Digital 5.1.
by John Li