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Review: Australia

(12A)

    Baz Luhrmann’s extravagant epic can reasonably be called bloated, over-the-top and camp as a row of candy-striped tents.

    But there is no denying its sheer visual and visceral entertainment value, combining a mishmash of elements of Gone With the Wind, Red River and other Hollywood Westerns and evocations of Pearl Harbor into a unique, spectacular saga of Australia’s past. It focuses on Nicole Kidman’s English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley and hunky drover Hugh Jackman whose African Queen-style romance is set against stunning backgrounds and action culminating in the Second World War Japanese bombing of Darwin in 1942. It’s overlong, lurid and often laughable but taken in the right light spirit, painless fun.

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