Kidman’s Australia

Clichés flourish like a herd of kangaroos (in fact, there actually is a herd of kangaroos). The rich cattle-king (Australian version of a cattle-baron) is of course a crook, and his overseer is a murderer. The society ladies of Darwin are ugly, racist and mean-spirited, the Aborigines are innocent, loving, noble and wise, and the Chinese cook is jolly yet inscrutable. The obligatory drunk eventually redeems himself and dies bravely (in a scene which, to my considerable embarrassment, I found actually quite moving). Australian drovers are shown wearing revolvers, as if expecting Jesse James or Billy the Kid to dry-gulch them at any moment. In a climactic confrontation in the bombed ruins of Darwin the villain turns out to be the young hero’s father, adding a touch of Star Wars, his Aboriginal grandfather taking the role of Obe-Wan, not to mention those of Gandalf and Dumbledore.

Still, simplistic is what this film is about. It is basically a very lavish comic-book. I was not quite sure that the first half-hour or so was not written by Barry Humphries as a caricature of Australian stereotypes, and this level of characterization is pretty well maintained throughout.

via The American Spectator : Kidman’s Australia.


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