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Australia: Historical Epic
More about the movie Australia
Other primary cast members included: Crusoe Kurddal (the Trapper who worked for the Coppers; helped round up the half-breed children for Mission Island) and David Ngoombujarra (Magarri, Drover's aborigine brother-in-law, who helped save the children on Mission Island after it was attacked).
Australia is rated PG-13, for its depiction of the 1935 - 1941 time period as well as the war scenes.
Director Baz Luhrmann co-wrote the Oscar nominated film for Best Costume Design Australia, released in 2008. Warning to the true romantics or heart-sensitive viewers, Australia is a tear jerk-er. You will need facial tissue. This film is heart warming, delightful, and a great representation of Australia during 1935 through 1941.
Australia is about a British titled woman known as Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) who prefers England, but decides to join her husband in Australia at their cattle ranch Faraway Downs. Her husband via letters and telegrams urges her not to come, but Lady Ashley is headstrong; ignores her husband's warnings and travels via a plane to 1935 Australia. She wants Faraway Downs sold so her husband will come back with her to England. Her way of saving their deteriorating marriage.
Upon arriving at the seaport Darwin, in the Northern Territory of Australia, Lady Ashley finds herself well out of her element, completely embarrassed, and nothing is as she had expected. Australia does not give Lady Ashley a good first impression, but lets her know how different and dangerous Australia and its Outback can be. When Lady Ashley reaches Faraway Downs, she finds her husband deceased by a spear in his chest, and meets Faraway Downs' crooked manager, Mr. Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) who is extremely corrupt and evil tempered.
Lady Ashley fires Mr. Fletcher the very next morning for beating the child Nullah (Brendan Walters) who is half white and half aborigine, and is the aboriginal King George's (David Gulipilil) grandson. Lady Ashley does not know Mr. Fletcher is Nullah's mean prejudiced father. She does not appreciate anyone mis-treating women and children. This firing of Mr. Fletcher gains respect from all who live on Faraway Downs including the alcoholic accountant Kipling Flynn (Jack Thompson) who shows her the two account books kept regarding Faraway Downs (the factual one, and the doctored one that proves Mr. Fletcher was sending unbranded Faraway Downs cattle across the river to mix with the competitor's herd).
The movie's plot well depicts how Lady Ashley becomes boss of the cattle ranch Faraway Downs, hires Drover (Hugh Jackson) to help her drive Faraway Downs' 1,500 cattle all the way to the seaport Darwin, and falls in love with the Northern Territory of Australia. Mr. Fletcher and his henchmen do all they can to stop Lady Ashley's cattle, including causing fires, creating stampeding, forcing them into the NeverNever (a place in the Outback where few find their way out or survive), and other unsavory deeds to keep them from making Darwin to prevent the Cattle Baron, Lesley "King" Carney (Bryan Brown), having competition selling his cattle to the British Army who needs beef for the military since World War II is underway in Europe.
In spite of the dastardly efforts of Mr. Fletcher, they make it and thwart the sale of King Carney's cattle thereby saving Faraway Downs. Lady Ashley upon saving her husband's cattle ranch, decides to stay and make Faraway Downs work. This is not the end of the film, it moves forward with the romance between Drover and Lady Ashley, very human and tender. Nullah becomes like a son to the two of them, finds a place where he belongs even though not "from either world".
The film Australia points out some unfair practices and laws regarding those like Nullah. Lady Ashley finds herself at odds with these laws and practices, fighting them until she cannot. This results in Nullah being taken while on a walkabout with his grandfather, King George, and shipped to Mission Island where they teach only the white world ways to half white and half aborigine children. Of course, Lady Ashley does her best to get Nullah back, but the Japanese military attacks Mission Island and Darwin; heavily bombarded and fired upon by the World War II Japanese planes thereby bringing Australia into World War II. The rest of the movie is about courage, survival, and accurately portrays what happened to Australia's Northern Territory during World War II.
This movie definitely has three sections, like a mini-series. Australia has a perfect pace (not too slow, not too fast). All plots were well covered throughout the 2 hour and 45 minutes in length. Viewing Australia was like experiencing 1935 through 1941 Australia. The cast and crew under the direction of Director Baz Luhrmann created a superb historical masterpiece.
This historical epic is on DVD. Highly recommend!