Director wows audiences with 'shock and awe'

The Germans call it blitzkrieg; Americans might use the term “shock and awe”; for Aussie director Baz Luhrmann, it’s simply cinematic style.

Known for his bombastic pyrotechnics in “Moulin Rouge” and “Romeo + Juliet,” Luhrmann has never backed down from a seemingly impossible fight: either reinventing the musical for the postmodern age or making Shakespeare cool for Gen Y.

Now comes “Australia,” a reportedly over-budget $150 million historical epic about his homeland for which Luhrmann shot three endings. Now that’s courage in the line of fire — and a long way off from his comparatively humble, widely heralded debut, “Strictly Ballroom.”

If he can pull this off with the same kind of crowdpleasing enthusiasm as his previous pics, Luhrmann could win his biggest victory yet.

Trophies: BAFTA David Lean Award; Broadcast Film Critics Award

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