I’m a big fan of director Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film, Moulin Rogue. I loved both the style of its storytelling and the overall tone, a tone that gives off a vibe that, no matter how dramatic things might get, everything is going to be fine in the end. There was an air of frivolity, an underlying comedy to it all which served Moulin Rogue brilliantly, and I recognized this same frivolity in Luhrmann’s most recent film, Australia.
This time, however, it doesn’t work at all.
What was refreshing in Moulin Rogue I found to be a distraction in Australia, which, I’m sure, has something to do with Australia’s subject matter. When your movie is about lovers in Paris at the turn of the century putting on a stage show, by all means: have fun with it. When you’re relating a love story that’s mixed in with racial prejudice and murder, told against the backdrop of the early days of World War II, a flippant and breezy approach may not be the best course of action. I'm not saying that the film required some sort of deeper sense of it's own importance, but certainly a genuine acknowledgment that it was dealing with serious issues was in order.
With impressive cinematography, a well-realized re-creation of the time period and a real chemistry that exists between it's stars, Australia is certainly a film I'd classify as a noble failure, but a failure nonetheless.
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