By Stephanie Cochrane Posted April 7, 2009
Directed by the renowned Baz Luhrmann, Australia is a film with a great cast, storyline, and themes. Set in 1939, World War II is heating up and the Faraway Downs Cattle Company in Northern Australia is struggling to meet the demand to feed thousands of hungry soldiers. Lady Sarah Ashley of Great Britain (Nicole Kidman) hears her husband, and owner of Faraway Downs is being deceitful and travels to Australia to see for herself.
Upon her arrival, bar-fight breaks out, and her regal-looking luggage is conveniently used to introduce the hired transport simply called “Drover” (Hugh Jackman). Drover drives Lady Ashley from Darwin to Faraway Downs; as they enter Lady Ashley finds her husband murdered and must run the company.
Confused and hurting, Ashley (who is unable to have children) meets a half aboriginal, half-white boy named “Nullah” (Brandon Walters), who sings her a song and instantly steals a place in her heart.
Nullah’s grandfather “King George” (David Gulpilil) was framed for the murder of Lady Ashley’s husband and flees to a mountaintop, where he seemingly sees everything throughout the movie. Nullah represents the struggle of being biracial and warms the movie with his childish, yet very mature insight on issues.
The first half of the movie revolves around the theme of competition and survival. King Carney (Bryan Brown) of Carney Cattle Company wants to create a monopoly in the cattle industry by forcing Faraway Downs to sell out. In order to survive, Lady Ashley, Drover, Nullah, the station’s always drunken accountant Kipling Flynn (Jack Thompson) and Drover’s aboriginal brother in law Magarri (David Ngoombujarra) embark on a drive to Darwin to deliver their cattle before Carney Cattle Company delivers theirs. Neil Fletcher, (David Wenham) former employee of Mr. Ashley was caught stealing cattle then selling it to King Carney and was fired by Lady Ashley. From that point on, Fletcher makes his only aspiration success through the downfall of Lady Ashley and Faraway Downs.
As the plot unfolds, the viewer becomes captivated by the romantic yet action-filled storyline. Many issues compose the complex theme of the film, yet it can be watched and understood with ease. The relationships between Lady Ashley, Nullah, Drover, and King George are all passionate but differ in their composition. The massive expanse of the Australian outback makes a perfect setting for the almost western-feeling film. Overall, the heart-warming spirits of the main characters inspire acceptance and perseverance in the film’s viewers. This movie is one to be remembered and shared from generation to generation.