starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Bryan Brown
screenplay by Baz Luhrmann & Stuart Beattie & Ronald Harwood & Richard Flanagan
directed by Baz Luhrmann
by Walter Chaw Baz Luhrmann's Titanic begins--as you know that it must--with fusty, dusty-britches Mrs. Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) tumbling out of a plane into the wilds of WWII Australia and the brawny arms of fair dinkum frontiersman The Drover (Hugh Jackman). They hate each other--she his disgustingly rugged physique and brusque manner, he her high-falutin' snobbery and belief that all men want to shag her. How miraculous, then, that the two come to love one another before the one-hour mark of the longest two weeks you'll spend in a theatre this year. But first, in a nod to Australia's "Lost Generation," of course, but more directly in most viewers' minds to Rabbit-Proof Fence, introduce pint-sized product of settler/aboriginal miscegenation Nullah (Brandon Walters), who lives on Sarah's late husband's cattle farm. Nullah is the emotional glue of the film (besides more importantly being the one who brings the cast's collective age down from AARP levels), the character imperilled, monumentalized, sought after, lost, recovered, hugged over, longed over, kissed over, and, in a stupid film's deeply stupid end titles, patronized with trivia about how the POME government at last apologized to the Aborigine people for their policy of forced intermarriage. How this saccharine, torpid love saga ends as a bromide is one of those things only the genuinely gifted can achieve: set in Darwin, Australia earns a Darwin Award for its dedication to self-destruction.