Thursday, October 6, 2011

Movie Review: Australia (2008)

For some reason I was expecting this movie to be a musical. Perhaps this was because it's by the same director who made Moulin Rouge.[1] Or perhaps I conflated it with a vague memory I have of seeing a television spot about a new musical that was going to star David Moscow (think: Newsies) and was set in Australia.[2] Either way, this isn't a musical. Sure, there's some aboriginal singing, but there aren't any dance-and-song numbers. Instead, it's a drama/romance set against the backdrop of Australia during World War II (particularly the Bombing of Darwin).

My verdict: Overall, I really liked this movie. (I suggest you check the content at before watching this yourself.) The little boy, Nullah, is endearing, bright-eyed, and ingenuous. Having him narrate the film worked for me—even though I usually dislike narrators for movies and television shows. The soundtrack is both majestic and reverent, drawing from jazz and aboriginal music, with just a touch of classical music. Australia did have a few problems, though. There are some spectacular shots of the Australian landscape, but the sweeping camera shots often moved too fast—you didn't have time to take them in before they'd rushed past you. The other main characters are rather cliché [3], but I was willing to overlook that. Having Nicole Kidman play an English aristocrat was an odd choice, I thought, but the casting decision was most likely based on star power. The love story was a little predictable, making this a blend of Gone With the Wind and Titanic.


[1] See my review of that film here.

[2] I can find no evidence that that movie ever existed or ever will.

[3] Even though the main villain, Neil Fletcher, is cliché, the actor does a pretty good job. He comes across as quite sleazy.

Image attributions:

Uluru Rock Glowing is by Peter Nijenhuis, available at 

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED the soundtrack on this movie, particularly the parts that used "Waltzing Matilda" the theme. I'm not as into soundtracks as the rest of the family, but this is one I considered buying. I really enjoyed this movie.