Australia (2008)

Posted: July 19, 2009 in movie

I wanted to see Australia not because it was a great movie, but because Hugh Jackman was in it. I saw and liked him when I saw X-men years ago. I became a fan of that guy and today, I saw the movie sitting for over 3 hours just to watch Jackman.

Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels from England to northern Australia to force her husband to sell his faltering cattle station, Faraway Downs. Her husband sends an independent cattle drover (Hugh Jackman), called Drover, to Darwin to fetch her. Lady Sarah’s husband, who was trying to sell 1,500 cattle to the military, is murdered before she arrives. Meanwhile, manager Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) is trying to gain control of Faraway Downs so that Lesley ‘King’ Carney (Bryan Brown) can have a monopoly in the Northern Territory, which will give him leverage with the Australian army. Fletcher claims that the murderer of her husband is an aboriginal elder with magical powers, ‘King George’ (David Gulpilil).

Childless Lady Sarah is captivated by young boy Nullah (Brandon Walters), who was born to an aboriginal mother. Nullah tells her that he has seen her cattle being driven onto Carney’s land. Nullah proves to Lady Sarah that Fletcher is a liar by showing her that the windmill, which Fletcher had deemed broken, is fully functional. Fletcher loses control and attacks Nullah, his mother and another aboriginal woman, forcing Lady Sarah to fire him.

Sergeant Callaghan arrives to try to take Nullah away, so Nullah and his mother hide from him in a water tank. One of the officers accompanying the sergeant tries out the water windmill, and Nullah’s mother drowns while saving him. Afterwards, Lady Sarah comforts Nullah by singing “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz. Nullah tells her that King George is his grandfather and like King George he too is a ‘magic man’.

Lady Sarah persuades Drover to take the cattle to Darwin for sale so that Faraway Downs can be saved. Drover, a white man, is friendly with the aborigines. He had married an aborigin, but she died after being refused medical treatment in a hospital because of her race.

Drover leads a team of six riders, including Lady Sarah, Drover’s aboriginal brother-in-law Magarri (David Ngoombujarra), Nullah, and accountant Kipling Flynn (Jack Thompson), to drive the 1,500 cattle to Darwin.
Carney’s men set fire to make the cattle stampede, and Flynn is killed. At the last minute, Nullah stops the cattle from stampeding over a cliff by using the magic learned from his grandfather.

Lady Sarah and Drover start loving each other. Carney’s men poison all the water sources along the cattle-drive route and still the group risks driving the cattle through the dangerous Never Never desert with the help of King George.

Nicole and Hugh

Nicole and Hugh

Delivering the cattle in Darwin, the group races them onto the ship before Carney’s cattle are loaded. That night, Lady Sarah and Drover attend a ball for the Children’s Island Mission, where she unsuccessfully attempts to make the upper class whites realize that half-aboriginal children belong to their mothers and not to the government.
Two years later, Lady Sarah, Nullah and Drover live together at Faraway Downs. Fletcher kills Carney, frames it as an tragic accident and marries his daughter Catherine Carney.

It is determined that Fletcher killed Lady Sarah’s husband and Fletcher is the father of Nullah. Nullah is drawn to perform a ceremonial coming-of-age walkabout with his grandfather, but is instead captured by the authorities and sent to live on Mission Island with the rest of the half-aboriginal children. His grandfather is thrown into jail, accused of murdering Lord Ashley.

Lady Sarah vows to find Nullah again, and begins working as a radio operator in Darwin during the escalation of World War II. Lady Sarah prepares to sell Faraway Downs to Fletcher, believing that it will aid her in gaining Nullah back. The sale is interrupted by the Japanese bombing of Darwin and Mission Island. Lady Sarah fears that Nullah has been killed.

Drover, who had quarrelled with Lady Sarah and gone droving never to return, hears that she has been killed in the bombing. In fact, the dead woman thought to be Sarah is Catherine Fletcher, who volunteered to take Sarah’s shift at army radio headquarters so that Sarah could go to Nullah.

Drover finds out about Nullah’s abduction and sets out with Magarri, Ivan, the hotelier, and the only member of the Children’s Island Mission to volunteer himself to help, Brother Frank, to rescue the children from the island.
When Japanese soldiers arrive, Magarri sacrifices himself to save others.

Lady Sarah and the inhabitants of Darwin prepare to evacuate on the last convoy out of the city. When Drover and the children sail back into Darwin, Nullah plays his harmonica with the tune of “Over the Rainbow”. Lady Sarah hears the music and reunites with the three.

Fletcher knows that Nullah is the one link that can relate him to a past that would ultimately ruin him. He also doubts that the boy must have cursed him. So he attempts to shoot Nullah. King George sees Fletcher from the top of a tanker just as Fletcher is about to fire and spears Fletcher through the chest just as he pulls the trigger. As Fletcher is dying, King George reprimands him for trying to kill his own son, and his magical grandson.

Lady Sarah watches as Nullah falls to the ground and Drover rushes to him. As Drover holds him in his arms, Nullah opens his eyes and smiles, revealing that the bullet was a blank.

Lady Sarah, Drover, and Nullah return to the safety of remote Faraway Downs. On the way back to Faraway Downs, King George calls for Nullah to go walkabout. Lady Sarah embraces Nullah and lets him go to his grandfather, who tells her that they will return to his land, and then looking at Lady Sarah, says “Our Land”.

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