Wednesday, December 10, 2008

AUSTRALIA - The Movie (The Real One)

OK, so I got to see it, and it's been a while since I just enjoyed a movie quite as much. I also understand more why those who trash it—Australians and non-Australians alike; but excluding 'critics', professional and self-styled, who are just assholes—think about it as they do.

It's just the kind of movie you either 'get' or you don't. There is, I think, no happy medium. We're talking two distincly different types of people. I obviously belong to this one, not that. So, from the point of view of this side, here's what I would like to say; avoiding synopsis and all that crap, which you can read up on somewhere else, and besides it's spoilers.

Above all, as already mentioned, the movie was immensely enjoyable. It was grand, dramatic, theatrical, melodramatic, tragic, funny, sad; with lots of Aussie nudge-nudge-wink-winks and plenty of 'crikey'. It ended as I would have ended it—which is always a cool thing, especially for a story-writer, because it's that very satisfying experience of having one's expectation of what should happen actually happening, and seeing that someone else understood what needed to be done.

There were a lot of facial closeups, and they weren't done with steadycams or just plain handhelds either, all shaky and sometimes even out of focus. Australia's closeup shots were done the old-fashioned way, with precision and tripod-mounted cameras. The term 'old-fashioned' is appropriate for a lot of the movie. Occasionally, or so I suspect, the obvious green-screen effect was deliberately not concealed, to give it that feel of 'old' or just maybe 'stage. It worked like a charm.

Some of the closeups gave us the best kissing scenes I've seen in a long time. As someone very much aware of the importance of kissing—not just in real life, but also in film and literature—I appreciate it when it's done right. Jackman and Kidman could teach many a film maker, as well as a lot of actors, more than just a thing or two. This was serious 'romance', not just mere 'steamy' stuff. All very sexy without taking the movie out of 'family viewing' territory.

I'd see it again tomorrow if I had the time, and I'll certainly get the DVD when it comes out. I could go on berating those benighted ones who just don't 'get' the movie, but I've long given up on trying to beat my head against those walls. They're too damn thick.

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