For everyone TV review: Faraway Downs

When lockdowns saw Australians stuck at home, extravagant filmmaker Baz Luhrmann didn’t let it get him down that his plans to shoot Elvis here were stuck on indefinite hold. Instead, he turned his attentions to the huge swathes of unused footage from his not entirely universally praised 2008 epic, Australia. Determined to recut the Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman-led love story as a six-part TV miniseries, he felt that a do-over would rediscover the true heart of the story: its First Nations characters.

This time round, much greater emphasis is placed on Brandon Walters’ scene-stealing turn as Nullah, our narrator and the biracial lad that Kidman’s English import Lady Sarah Ashley and Jackman’s strapping drover take under their collective wing. Ursula Yovich and the late David Gulpilil shine. David Wenham’s also fantastically nasty as the moustache-twirling baddie who’s after the cattle station of the new title, even if he has to kill a few folks to wrestle it from Sarah. By the time the Japanese air force’s bombing of Darwin brings WWII to their shore, this explosive encore feels well-earned. 

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