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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Nicole Kidman
Hugh Jackman
Lady Sarah Ashley

David Wenham
Joel Edgerton
Bryan Brown.
Directors
Baz Luhrmann.
Screenwriters
Baz Luhrmann
Ronald Harwood
Stuart Beattie
Richard Flanagan .
Running Time
165 minutes

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Australia
Tie me extended running time down, sport


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Plot
To save her late husband’s Australian ranch from developers, icy Englishwoman Lady Sarah (Kidman) must travel cross-country with 1,500 cattle, a mixed-race child and the manly Drover (Jackman), whom she hates on sight…


Review
Australia
Browse more images »

There’s a point about a hundred minutes into Baz Luhrmann’s sweeping love letter to his home country when —  spoiler warning! — all obstacles have been overcome, couples have bickered, battled then fallen in love, and all that could have ended well, has. You might very well start stretching your legs and fiddling with your coat in anticipation of the end credits.

But then, just as you’ve got your arm through your left sleeve, it carries on. And on. And on, adding death and explosions and tragic misunderstandings, and all because Luhrmann is unashamedly striving to make an old-school epic. As if what went before, with its swooning romance, fistfights and luscious landscapes wasn’t epic enough.

But then, if history has taught us anything, it’s that Luhrmann and restraint are strange bedfellows. And Australia, the first (and, given the poor box office in the States, probably last) in the director’s planned trilogy of Big Movies is many things — heroically overblown, gloriously sweeping, unintentionally hilarious. But subtle it isn’t, leaving no Ayers Rock unturned in search of clunking cliché. There will be kangaroos. There will be mystical Aborigines. There will be boomerangs.

Like Moulin Rouge, Australia starts with an extended assault on the senses which introduces the players and plot, played at a frenetic pace that might seem out of place in a West End farce. Thank goodness, then, that things slow down over the next hour, allowing Luhrmann to show off his talent for stunning visuals (although the proliferation of CG backgrounds, given the natural scenery on offer, is baffling), to flex new action muscles with a thrilling cattle stampede, and to set in motion the beguiling African Queen-inspired romance between Kidman’s rapidly thawing cold fish and Jackman’s heart-of-gold, abs-of-steel tough guy, the Drover.

But then comes that final superfluous half-hour, with the sudden intrusion of World War II and the Japanese bombing of Darwin, and all momentum drains out of the picture, replaced by contrived conflict between the Drover and Sarah. And when the dust settles, we finish up… roughly where we were 30 minutes ago. Maybe you’d best be advised to slip out at the hundred-minute mark, after all.


Verdict
Often beautiful but wildly inconsistent, Australia is none more Baz Luhrmann, which perhaps says it all. Worth a look on the big screen, though.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Australia
Empire Star Rating

Australia

For me this story was about Nulla. A boy who belonged nowhere and to no-one who after much abuse went back to his roots and back to nature. The rest was pretty superfluous. I found the CGI distracting and unneccessary given the abundance of setting. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ladybooger at 09:49, 07 January 2012 | Report This Post


Australia

For me this story was about Nulla. A boy who belonged nowhere and to no-one who after much abuse went back to his roots and back to nature. The rest was pretty superfluous. I found the CGI distracting and unneccessary given the abundance of setting. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ladybooger at 09:49, 07 January 2012 | Report This Post


Simply Amazing

I personally loved it. I was on my way to Kenya, in a plane of course, and that's when i first saw it. I had seen trailers for it and was so intrigued i had to watch it. I barely had any money so i never got to watch it on big screen. But i was lucky that i caught it whilst flying, a nine hour long journey. I sat unmoving in the cramped space mile up in the air, very late at night - or rather very early in the mornng. I cried, i laughed a little and i seriously enjoyed it. The lenght was nothing... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gleek at 14:52, 02 November 2010 | Report This Post


Unfair

When Australia first came out, I trusted Empire's opinion and gave it a miss. What a mistake. Having been recommended to it by my mum, I could not believe how good it was. Luhrmann is unashamedly making a grand, romantic epic, but why is this a bad thing? In a time where moviegoers come out of the cinema and say 'That was good. The sequel will be better though', how can we criticise Luhrmann for making a film that is both uninterested in franchise and fantastically made. The point about the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by siyoung91 at 18:09, 03 September 2010 | Report This Post


overated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this film is a hunk of crap. the stupid aussies just got their best actors ( hugh jackman and nichole kidman) and put them to mediocre shit like this. the acting is extremely stale and awkward and the little aborigine has the only goood performance yet over acts a little bit. these people should be sued bacause this movie screams out gone with the wind. this film is worth no stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by snatch099 at 09:54, 22 September 2009 | Report This Post


better on the big screen

i love this film- mostly. i cant say that i noticed the extremely cheap CGI, but i agree that the film goes on ... and on... and on, however i loved a lot of the second half and the little boy is adorable! the opening and the scene somewhere around the middle where they drove them damn cheeky bulls into the metal ship was a little too cheesy- even for me. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by smelly cheese at 23:46, 12 June 2009 | Report This Post


Beautiful (with a break)

The film is gorgeous, the Outback has been captured in all its desolate glory, and surely never before with such love. You can feel Baz Luhrmann's affection for the land in every sweeping epic shot. The longing slow-motion shots of Hugh Jackman's chest are also very attractive. The film works best with an interval like a true fifties melodrama would have had in the cinema. So I would recommend watching the first 75 minutes then stopping to grab an icecream and settling back for the second half... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by crazycatlady at 12:29, 08 June 2009 | Report This Post


Beautiful (with a break)

The film is gorgeous, the Outback has been captured in all its desolate glory, and surely never before with such love. You can feel Baz Luhrmann's affection for the land in every sweeping epic shot. The longing slow-motion shots of Hugh Jackman's chest are also very attractive. The film works best with an interval like a true fifties melodrama would have had in the cinema. So I would recommend watching the first 75 minutes then stopping to grab an icecream and settling back for the second half... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by crazycatlady at 12:29, 08 June 2009 | Report This Post


Surprise

I loved this movie, and I did not think I would. At all. Playing very much like an old fashioned movie, not afraid to be humorous, romantic, epic and action packed all at once, this movie was for me anyway, easy to sit through. I know its not for everyone, but the story held me, a hardened cinema goer, the whole way through. I loved the old fashioned hollywood film feel to it. I think it deserves four stars, for being what alot of movies are not at the moment; bold and unashamed of telling the s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mort Grimm at 10:29, 22 May 2009 | Report This Post


Re you'r all wrong

WRONG WRONG WRONG, damn this film should have won some Oscars, nichole kidman and hugh jackman are incredible, the visual shots are spectacular with a plot that not only was believable but hooking and consistant, my sister and mum cried through it. I couldnt believe3 how it got overlooked at the oscars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ivanahump at 09:07, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Might be getting a slightly rough deal

I really enjoyed this movie, yeah it's a little cheesy but what Baz Luhrman flick isn't? Beautiful shots of the Australian outback, lush imagery, (not just talking about Hugh Jackman with his shirt off pouring water in slow motion chemistry between Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, funny, moving, thrilling, just popcorn fun. Hugh Jackman should never wear a shirt, ever! ... More

Posted by JoeyPottr at 06:57, 06 May 2009 | Report This Post


Stunning But Why So Long?

Seeing Moulin Rogue, I can understand why Baz Lurhrman likes making over the top movies with added romance and tradgey along the way. So when Austrailia came out, I was a little thrown off of seeing it as many people hated it and still do due to the running time and the storyline. I waited until it was able to rent which I did and sat through near three hours of a film without moving or going to the toliet! Before the first hour passes, it's dull and Lady Ashley is very annoying while The Dover ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 18:11, 01 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Might be getting a slightly rough deal

Spoilers, possibly, although this is a /b] thread so what you'd expect.p; Yeah - because Titanic bombed with sad ending. p; If I were to believe it - and given the above I don't quite accept the story as it is told - I'd guess it was more because people are sick to the death of every apparent love story only being one if someone dies. ... More

Posted by elab49 at 13:32, 23 April 2009 | Report This Post


Might be getting a slightly rough deal

If the ending seems a bit pointless, it's because the studio forced baz to neuter it: http://www.beyondhollywood.com/baz-luhrmanns-aus tralia-gets-new-happier-ending-spoilers/ Don't look unless you don't mind the ending being quite thoroughly spoiled. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Leon at 13:08, 23 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Australia

rmann Discusses ia from Cinematical.com ... More

Posted by Mason Verger at 15:35, 10 March 2009 | Report This Post


Just tragic

with the first hour I was extremely dissapointed. And I didnt want to relive that feeling after the unforgivable I am Legend. To start it's WAY WAY too long, so long in fact I found myself waiting for the credits which is a first for me. Secondly the CGI is extremely cheap, the scene with the cattle is just cringe making. Thirdly, oh yes the list goes on, the daft sub plot with that kid and his magic grandfather who seems to see everything from the top of a mountain is an incredible waste of scr... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Chetta95 at 20:11, 27 February 2009 | Report This Post


Just tragic

with the first hour I was extremely dissapointed. And I didnt want to relive that feeling after the unforgivable I am Legend. To start it's WAY WAY too long, so long in fact I found myself waiting for the credits which is a first for me. Secondly the CGI is extremely cheap, the scene with the cattle is just cringe making. Thirdly, oh yes the list goes on, the daft sub plot with that kid and his magic grandfather who seems to see everything from the top of a mountain is an incredible waste of scr... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Chetta95 at 20:11, 27 February 2009 | Report This Post


Luhrmann can't keep getting away with this

It’s hardly dull, but the constant genre-trotting and overblown extravagance we’ve come to expect from Luhrmann still isn’t as appealing as one might think, despite some moments of grandeur. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Romarth at 20:58, 17 February 2009 | Report This Post


a 3 hour sprawling romance about cattle in australia? sounds great!

but it isnt. this film is way longer than it needs to be and should have ended half way through and i completely agree with empire and the length front i also thought it was not just long but bloated i mean what was the story focusing on? the romance? the cattle battle? the war? the race issue? or the country australia it was visually impressive but it felt like two films put together 1 about love and ca ttle the other about race and war and by the time it reached the good stuff with race and w... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by THE DALTONATOR at 20:45, 24 January 2009 | Report This Post


RE: one of the worst films ever

Ah, 3 hours of my life I will never get back. Once you get bored of playing 'spot the cliche' this film is pretty awful, which upset me 'cos I think Jackman isn't half bad when given half a chance (or in this case a decent script)...Now I understand why Crowe turned this down. Still, you live and learn... ... More

Posted by halfpint9891 at 09:59, 23 January 2009 | Report This Post


RE: one of the worst films ever

at times this experience is very meh but not as bad as people say ... More

Posted by Worldz at 17:06, 22 January 2009 | Report This Post


RE: one of the worst films ever

Well made, but otherwise fucking dreadful, corny sub-Titanic nonsense. ... More

Posted by Tank Boy at 00:40, 13 January 2009 | Report This Post


Gone with the wind - with Kangaroos!

I'm loving the diverse reactions to this movie. A total girls film - it's nothing more than GOne with the WInd with Kangaroos. From me that is a great compliment, from my Aussie Uncle it certainly was not. I absolutely loved it has to be said Hugh Jackman is so hot in this movie it is beyond belief!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chargomp at 16:43, 12 January 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Thoroughly Entertaining & Enjoyable

#993366]I agree. Jackman has fantastic potential assuming he picks the right roles in times to come. Am very much looking forward to the Wolverine movie. ... More

Posted by bloodmasquerade at 14:33, 09 January 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Thoroughly Entertaining & Enjoyable

Agree about that Hugh Jackman is just a good an actor maybe even better than Crowe. ... More

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 14:25, 09 January 2009 | Report This Post


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