Passionate Yet Uninfluenced
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham
Genre: They call it epic romance film. I call it war infused drover romance drama; probably the birth of a new genre.
Baz Luhrmann’s so-called epic romance film, Australia, does have a lot to offer to the souls which have been tainted by Titanic and Pearl Harbor; the films which have tragedy and romance intertwined. However, Australia ends on a peaceful and Happy Ending tone. But, what makes it so special? It uses huge amount of special effects to recreate the Darwin Harbor in the 1940s. Australia may be controversial for those scenes involving the aboriginal tribes, but, it sticks to the core of filmmaking rather than Aussie Exploitation.
Personally, we’ve seen romance films where the lady is rich and beautiful and has not tasted the harsh part of life and the lad is quite her opposite – tough and daring. It is the lad who shows the lady on what life is. And then they get together on those countless sexual sessions which may extend for months and then, they break up over what they call a ‘complex’ issue and finally get back again after agreeing on it which evidently happens after a long journey what filmmakers love calling ‘rediscovering life’.
Filmmaking has its own rules: (1) Lads are experienced while ladies aren’t. So, the lads teach the ladies and in the process, romance them. (2) Their break up always happens when they fight over (a) family or (b) child adoption or (c) marriage. (3) There may be many villains but the arch rival always dies and that too in the end. (4) The person who is in charge of changing the hearts of the lad and the lady always uses repetitive dialogues. (5) This person is certainly not related to them in anyway.
Well, Australia has bended a few of them. It works its way through the rough patches of the island continent. Especially when the scenes of the cattle droving happen, we have partial aerial shots and partial CGI creations. Respective of the characters, we have to worry about the length of the movie. 160 minutes isn’t easy watching nowadays. It’s tough to sit in a chair and watch a movie in which the entertainment quota is quite less. Films like Godfather Part II ran for 200 minutes. But, it’s Godfather! You depend on a star-studded cast and you got your deal. Australia doesn’t have a recognized cast. Nicole Kidman was easy and so was Hugh Jackman. There is also David Wenham who acted in other historic films such as 300, Van Helsing and Lord of The Rings trilogy.
Australian Film Industry (should I call it Aullywood) clearly sees a bridge in between filmmaking and content. Australia (the film) is made up of racism and probably, delirium. Australia’s (the continent) beauty has been rightly shown by Luhrmann. So, Australia sticks to its genre as epic romance film rather than war infused romance drama. Well, if droving were to be a film genre, Australia would be an example. But, are we forgetting the movies from Southern USA. There are quite a lot of droving scenes in them too.
But I wonder, is this the Australian version of Gone With The Wind? Are we seeing Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler’s Australian forms – Lady Sarah Ashley and The Drover? Well, that’s his profession and not the name. The name is never mentioned in the movie.
Australia is a mammoth film. It’s Luhrmann’s passionate dream that however tends to bore your heart which yearns for the need of entertainment.