During the onset of World War II in 1939, Lady Sarah Ashley(Nicole Kidman) flies from England to Australia to bring back her husband after selling their property named Faraway Downs in Australia. Her husband has already spent a long time raising cattle in this property without any returns.
Sarah arrives in the city of Darwin and meets Drover(Hugh Jackman), an acquaintance of her husband. Sarah takes an instant dislike towards Drover. But she has no choice but to travel with him to meet her husband. Sarah reaches Faraway Downs with Drover, Magarri, who is the aboriginal partner of Drover, and Flynn(Jack Thompson), who is the perpetually drunk accountant of Faraway Downs.
On arrival in Faraway Downs, Sarah is shocked to see the dead body of her husband. She is met by Fletcher(David Wenham), the manager of her property. She is informed about her husband’s murder by King George, an aborigine. The police is on the lookout for King George.
Meanwhile, King George’s daughter and grandson, Nullah(Brandon Walters), were employed by Sarah’s late husband. Nullah is an half blood – a mix of white and black. Fearing capture by police and eventual handover to missionaries, Nullah stays hidden from public eye.
After being persuaded by Fletcher, Sarah decides to sell her property to King Carney(Bryan Brown), who have a monopoly in the cattle business in Australia. But, Nullah shows Sarah that Fletcher is lying to her. Fletcher is working for Carney and is planning to marry his daughter. Sarah also finds that Fletcher is the father of Nullah. He also wants to hide this secret from Carney and also the world.
Sarah then fires Fletcher and persuades Drover to drive the cattle to Darwin for selling them to the army thereby breaking the monopoly of Carney and reviving Faraway Downs. In order to form a team, Drover chooses inexperienced hands from Sarah’s staff along with Sarah and Nullah and leads the cattle to Darwin.
Thus begins the adventure wherein Drover, Sarah and Nullah faces a variety of hurdles while travelling through the rough terrain. The adventure brings three of them closer to form a family. But, they have to conquer fear to come close as a family. The rest of the story traces their life until 1945 when Japanese forces attack the city of Darwin.
Baz Luhrmann directs this movie with a running time of 2 hours 35 minutes. He builds the story with the cattle drive and then slowly changes the focus to the life of the three people after the cattle drive. At this point, the movie falters a bit. He has chosen the backdrop of World War II and the pathos of the Stolen Generations to tell the story. This enhances the drama. In this movie too, Baz adopts the same technique used in his previous movie, Moulin Rouge, where he swoops in the camera to put the audience in the middle of the scene close to the performers and then he swoops out the camera to take them away from the scene. This technique heightens the drama in some scenes and sense of adventure during the cattle drive sequences. Baz relies extensively on CG throughout the movie. Although the CG scenes are obvious, it also helps us to fuel the audience’s imagination.
This is primarily a director’s movie and so, the performance are dwarfed by the visual imagery.
Go for it to see an old fashioned romance.
Picture Courtesy: Yahoo! Movies