Head to Head – Australia

Welcome to the latest edition of Head to Head, in which our Quickflix critic takes on our readers in a rip-snorting battle to the death! You pick the film, and we pick the fight!

This week, Rohan Daenke hocked a giant, unpatriotic spitball at the Stray’un flag by dissing Baz Luhrmann‘s Australia. For his troubles, he scored a double pass to Animal Kingdom! You can win free movie tickets too by sending your mini-reviews to us here at Quickflix!

Rohan Daenke will argue AGAINST the film while Quickflix critic Simon Miraudo will argue FOR it. Let us know in the comments section below who you agree with. Spare no vitriol! Choose your side! There can only be one winner!

Rohan Daenke – 1.5/5

Kaboom! Like Japanese bombs raining down on Darwin, Baz Luhrmann has dropped another bloated stinker on us. I could hardly contain my horror cringing at this piece of Australiana rubbish. It started with the awful narration, was ably assisted by the terrible accents and dialogue and finished off with hideous stereotypes. Why use the kid for the narration? And why let the story be told in bush English? It completely removed any seriousness from the drama of the events. Then there was the OTT score, the slow-mos and close-ups as well as the cheap CG effects (especially for the horseback scenes). But wait, there’s more! David Wenham’s unconvincing performance as the bad guy! The casting of any and every Australian actor they could find to play clichéd roles – Jack Thompson, Bruce Spence, Bill Hunter, Bryan Brown, John Jarratt etc. The only redeeming factor was the bombing of Darwin which, although not given enough screen time, was the highlight of the film. All in all this film was a waste of money, clearly made for overseas audiences that put Australia back about 50 years by perpetuating every ocker stereotype imaginable.

Simon Miraudo – 4/5

Australia seems to be one of the most divisive films of the last few years (believe it or not, it is the film that has received the most Head to Head entries ever). I’ve defended the film once before, but I feel the need to once again encourage people to give Baz a chance. Yes, Australia is loud, garish, clichéd and OTT in every respect. But dammit, that’s what makes it so damn lovable. I mean, casting toe-tapping Hugh Jackman as the butchest Australian bloke in history – brilliant. Featuring numerous sequences that don’t ever hide the fact that they were filmed on a soundstage – brilliant. Removing any potential traces of ‘moral gray areas’– brilliant. Do not watch this film looking for ethical complexity; that’s what The Proposition is for. This is a modern day Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, minus the music. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and love will conquer all in the end. And to stretch the metaphor even further, the film can be evenly divided in two (admittedly, clashing) acts and also runs a little too long. But hey, I still walked out smiling.

Now it’s over to you! What are your thoughts on Australia? Let us know in the comments section below. If you would like to be featured in the next Head to Head and possibly win some free movie tickets, send your mini-reviews to us here at Quickflix!

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