Film Review: Australia

By Megan Lehmann (

With his audaciously titled epic "Australia," Baz Luhrmann has delivered a shamelessly melodramatic, often eccentric spectacle with true-blue blockbuster potential. The most expensive Australian film ever made is rousing and passionate. Despite some cringe-making Harlequin Romance moments between homegrown Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, the 1940s-set "Australia" defies all but the most cynical not to get carried away by the force of its grandiose imagery and storytelling.

And, yes, there are kangaroos.

Tourism Australia may have politely requested their inclusion, with hopes for a tourist revival riding on this $130 million Outback tale, along with what seems like the future of the entire local film industry. If Luhrmann felt the weight of that responsibility, it doesn't show. His "Australia" is much less earnest than the trailer suggests, layered with a thin veneer of camp and a nod and a wink to accompany the requisite Aussie cliches.

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