It's 1939. Concerned that her husband is cheating on her, the aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley flies to the remote tip of Northern Australia to grab him by force and drag him back home to England. But his ‘mistress’ is in reality a cattle ranch that others have been trying to steal from him. All Lady Ashley discovers is the crumbling spread called Faraway Downs and a murdered husband. Though she means to leave, she finds herself inexplicably attached to an aboriginal child, as well as intrigued by the challenge of saving the ranch.
Fortunately, to accomplish this, she has help from the rough-edged Drover (Hugh Jackman) and a small team of loyal employees, who must all race across the desert to Darwin to break cattle baron King Carney's (Bryan Brown) monopoly on the armed forces' meat supply. Soon Sarah, Drover and the recently orphaned aboriginal boy, Nullah (excellent newcomer Brandon Walters) have formed a loving, if not quite legitimate, family unit, but there are further troubles brooding on the endless horizon.
This is a classic old-school epic set-up with Kidman and Jackman delivering big performances and chemistry we'd expect from the big ticket 1930s Hollywood film or, in 1997, Titanic. The story and the characters are all larger than life.
Australia won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but its blend of old-fashioned film making and fantasy had me hooked.