Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 9:46 am | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘Australia’

Visit the world down under in this historically accurate film that weaves romance with the struggle between good and evil.

The epic nature of Baz Luhrmann‘s Australia is impressive. The story is generational with an historical basis that combines the film genres of romance, western, war, religion and civil rights.

As an Aussie, Luhrmann’s love for Australia comes through. As author and director, he weaves a visual depiction of life in Australia as we experience the unique geography, seasons and cultures of this intriguing southern continent through his likable characters.

The two central characters of the film are diametrically opposed at first. The beautiful, prim and proper Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) is obviously out of place when she arrives from England to visit her husband at their Australian outback ranch, Faraway Downs.

Drover (Hugh Jackman) is the handsome cattle drive boss who has agreed to take the ranch’s 1,500 cattle to the port of Darwin. When Drover is sent to bring Lady Ashley out to the ranch, they openly express their dislike for each other. Yet, romance is predictable when it is discovered that Lord Ashley has been murdered.

Although Lady Ashley is seemingly ill-suited to life down under, she quickly reveals her moral courage and adaptability as she takes immediate action to bring justice to her ranch. Likewise, although Drover is a loner who can’t be tied down, he comes to Lady Ashley’s rescue and gradually opens his heart to her.

Mixed into this romantic tale is a story of racial injustice. Nullah (Brandon Walters) is the child of a white man and an aboriginal woman. As a “half-breed,” he is vulnerable to the government’s program of taking such children away from their families and putting them under the care of the governmental church.

This historically accurate depiction of what happened to these children, who are called the “stolen generation,” is revealed to be a tragic injustice as Lady Ashley becomes attached to Nullah and wants to adopt him, provide a home for him and protect him from being taken away by the police. It is unbelievable that this practice remained a governmental policy until 1973.

The villains of the tale are two men, King Carney (Bryan Brown), a greedy rancher who is willing to destroy his neighbors, and Neil Fletcher (David Wenham), whose evil lust for power destroys everyone around him.

The struggle between good and evil in this classic tale provides the tension that is matched by the World War II attacks on Australia by the Japanese and the racial injustice of the government’s treatment of the aboriginal people. As such, it is a valuable if predictably romantic study of this amazing world down under.

Discussion:

» Lady Ashley reveals the depth of her character when she faces the injustices occurring in Australia and she decides to stay and right these wrongs. Have you ever had the opportunity to be a part of righting an injustice? How did you do so? In what ways did it change you?

» The mystical power of Nullah and his grandfather, King George (David Gulpilil), implies a power over animals and a connection that can transcend distances. Do you believe such powers exist? Why or why not?

» The ultimate fate of Fletcher fits his own behaviors. Did you find him a believable character? Do you believe he loved his wife, or was he merely grasping to own and control the Carney fortune?

Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church on the Mesa. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.