Baz Luhrmann will never make an easy film. He's capable of incredible visual beauty on screen, and he won't hold back: he'll take courageous risks to show it. His films are all raging excess.
Australia has all the sincere sentimentality of the Red Curtain Trilogy, but little of the narrative playfulness and none of the humor. It has the musical power, but not the flair. I can't say I had ever wondered what would happen if the artist of Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge ever decided to do a Western, or an historical epic, or an action movie, or a war movie, but Luhrmann went ahead and did all of that at once. But there it is, that excess, part of what makes Luhrmann my favorite director. I admire the way the films of the Red Curtain trilogy spill over, not able to be contained by what they are. Australia doesn't spill over; it fully takes on the essence of what it is (or better, all the things it is). It is not as good as Luhrmann's other films, but I still admire the art.