Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Sugar-coated Australia




Not sure how Baz Luhrman’s latest “epic” has been received in the UK, but over here / down under, it’s not exactly packing out the stalls. K and I toddled along to see Australia on Sat eve, in Sydney’s biggest cinema, where just a few weeks ago, the red carpet premiere was packed with all the stars (it’s just round the corner from my office).

The reviews here have been lukewarm so we didn’t have high expectations – and to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, as long as you take it for what it is.

Despite the general vilification of Nicole Kidman, I thought she was quite good (apart from a few cringy scenes at the beginning) and Hugh Jackman is likeable enough (again, apart from a few gratuitous ‘pec shots’). And Brandon Walters, the child non-actor in the central role, was entrancing. And as a love poem to the beauty of the country, it did a great job. The plot was holier than a pack of nuns and the ‘baddies’ were so bad they were comical, but probably the most important thing for me was that it actually raised some realities about the experiences of indigenous Australians not so long ago. Interestingly the reviews here have barely mentioned the fairly central plot around the Stolen Generations (children of mixed race who were forcibly removed from their indigenous families ostensibly for ‘protection’ but more often than not, because of racism and a desire to ‘breed out the blacks’). Yes it was sugar-coated for the masses, with a nice happy ending and a love story to make it all seem less hideous, but far better for the masses to get a sugar-coated version than no version at all - I think.

1 comment:

Katie-B said...

...and what is so wrong with a few peck shots my girl - frankly wmen of my age love them and Baz is soo good at them. Not seen it yet but now it's on my list of thigs to do this Christmas, even for for those few shots alone! x