Rating: 2 stars
Australia is all mythology, no movie. Its director, the extravagant Australian stylist Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge), simply has too many lofty ideas: He wants to make a film that captures the sprawling, rugged landscape and maverick spirit of his homeland. He wants to make a film that condemns the treatment of Australia’s indigenous people, the Aborigines. He wants to make a film that echoes classic American films—westerns for sure, but mostly Gone With the Wind and, curiously, The Wizard of Oz. Indeed, he wants to create nothing less than the Great Australian movie. He might’ve started with a better script.
Almost everything in Australia seems borrowed from other, better, sources, as if Luhrman thinks that presenting cinematic archetypes imbues his film with a kind of timelessness. It just makes his characters clichés.
We’ve got Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), the English aristocrat who arrives in Australia during World War II hoping to convince her husband to sell his cattle ranch. Instead, she finds her...