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Baz Luhrmann

Australia * Baz Luhrmann (2008)

A corny cover, “drama/romance” as genre, 2:45 hour long; why oh why would I watch a film like that? Well, because the director is Baz Luhrmann.

So, Luhrmann did indeed make a 1980’ies style romantic drama adventure. The typical Luhrmann elements (bright colours, slightly surrealistic atmosphere, etc.) are left out. Not my type of movie “Australia”. The gorgeous Nicole Kidman is indeed a big pro, but her acting is quite childish here and there.

The story is about Kidman travelling from the UK to Australia to see to her husband’s business there. She finds him dead and tries to complete the business that her husband started. In doing so Sarah meets the man she will fall in love with, Aboriginals and a halfblood. Sarah obviously runs into the ‘underdog camp’, but of course, all turns out well. The story is set to the unfolding second World War and also gives a view on the way the colonisers ‘worked’ in Australia.

The film is not boring, but like I said, nor is it my type of film. It is an old-fashioned romantic drama.

The Great Gatsby * Baz Luhrmann (2013)“The Great Gatsby” wonderfully fits in Luhrmann’s curriculum with as most famous titles “Romeo + Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge”. Like in “Romeo + Juliet” there is an original mix of ‘old and new’. In the current title we have a story set in the 1920’ies, but the music is very contemporary. The film has the theatrical atmosphere of “Moulin Rouge” (but is not a musical). It has this slightly surrealistic and comical atmosphere of some Paul Thomas Anderson films, with bright colours, pompous stages and the fairy-like tone of “Big Fish”. Yep, “The Great Gatsby” is a good film.

The main character is Nick who lives accross the water of a well-married friend from his youth. His neighbour is equally rich, this is the “great Gatsby” from the title. Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) approaches Nick for a reason to become obvious during the film. In fact, the reason for it is the reason for all things in Gatsby’s life.

Luhrmann again made a wonderous world, this time of the extremly rich with massive parties and fast cars. He also throws in some criticism of the 1920’ies USA, but in basis the story is a love-story, nothing more, nothing less. “The Great Gatsby” is a very ‘easy’ film. There are no questions, no plot-twists, nothing. The only thing is that is starts as a feel-good-movie, but towards the end becomes less so.

Not the type of film that I need to see all the time, but this one is certainly a good choice when you are looking for light entertainment.

Romeo + Juliet * Baz Luhrmann * 1996

You may find me crazy, but this is one of my favorite films. Of course I have known this film for centuries, but apparently I saw it long before I started this filmsection. Now I got it on DVD, so… For those of you who don’t know this film (if this is possible), yes, it is with Leonardo DiCaprio, but this doesn’t make the film less beautiful to me. As the title suggests the film is based on Shakespeares “Romeo and Julia” and this is done brilliantly. The setting is in a modern city, but the text is in the original old English. The things that Shakespeare did not describe explicitly are filled in freely, things that are discribed used, but put in the new setting. Therefor the cars look a bit funny, a gun had the brand “sword” and they can put stuck into the ground and a policeman is the leader of the city of Verona. The voiceovers are made into newsreaders on TV and there are more brilliant findings in this film. The music is perfect (I have had the score at home for years) which makes this film as dramatic as Shakespeare probably meant it. The acting is great. The actors had to speak in an ancient tongue but still remain true to the modern setting of the film and to my opinion they did well. The film is so old that it is available for only a few euros/bucks so my suggestion is that you get a copy of it.

Moulin Rouge * Baz Luhrmann * 2001

Speaking of pre-premieres! I saw this movie at 5:00 in the morning and it ‘premiered’ in Europe that evening!
The long anounced and much advertised for musical with Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor (best known of “Trainspotting” and “A Life Less Ordinary”). Actually a pretty amusing piece of film which is about a musical-house with weird people and a musical itself as well. Kidman is a new-born star in the “Moulin Rouge” and MacGregor a poet who is writing his first musical. The two fall in love, but because some count will only give the needed financial injection in trade of Kidman, nobody can know. Much well-known song pass the revue in musical-versions and the scenery is wonderfull, as is Kidman by the way.
This is going to be the Christmas movie for the coming years I guess. Entertainment for the entire family.