Rating – **1/2


If you were to strap a film camera to a scud missile and fire it through the Australian outback, the resulting footage may closely resemble Baz Luhrmann’s latest film. It is vibrant, fast paced, colourful, and sometimes thrilling, but it is also a total mess! The energy scale and ambition is admirable, you wouldn’t expect anything less from this director. But at nearly 3 hours Australia is flabby, poorly structured, unfocused and… just too much. It’s frustrating because there are so many great ingredients. The most interesting plotline deals with the Aboriginal “stolen generation”. In no small part due to the charismatic Brandon Walters as Nullah. His joyful, energetic, and sometimes moving performance achieves what the rest of the film was desperately striving for. Luhrmann uses his stylised visuals from Moulin Rouge but here they feel misplaced. He claims it was intended to recall the golden era of Hollywood epics such as Gone With the Wind. Personally I found the (intentionally!) shit green screen work cheep and distracting. There is a very good film hiding somewhere in this bloated misfire. I’d love to see a directors cut which jettisons at least an hour. It seems Baz may have directed this behemoth in the same way Hugh Jackman corrals his cattle. Speaking of which, check out the roto work on those cows! Stay for the credits too…… cough – I worked on the stampede fx – cough


~ by thewholebuffalo on July 19, 2009.

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