'Australia" *** (out of four): Baz Luhrmann's epic story of love and adventure isn't quite the classic it hopes to be, but it paints a vivid portrait of the titular continent on the brink of World War II.
Fans of Baz Luhrmann know what to expect from his movies. Playfully sweeping cameras, big, heartfelt emotions, and lots of spectacular spectacle. Subtlety, not so much. The multi-hyphenate director doesn't release a film often (his last was 2001's fab musical potpourri "Moulin Rouge!"), so when he does it's usually something to look out for. "Australia" is his first crack at a true epic - a film in the tradition of "Lawrence of Arabia", and a clear love story to his homeland, set against the backdrop of World War II. While it isn't quite the classic it hopes to be, "Australia" paints a vivid portrait of the titular continent during an important period of history, and it tells a good (if mostly familiar) story along the way.
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