Based on a true story, Ned Kelly is unable to support his family in the Australian outback, he turns to stealing horses in order to make money. He gets more deeply drawn into the outlaw life, and eventually becomes involved in murders. Based on the life of famed 19th-century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.Written by
Good, bad or ugly, Mick Jagger will always be Mick Jagger
This film has always received a thorough trashing, in Australia at least, & having seen it, I believe unfairly. As a genre film it's pretty solid - boy gets out of jail, still gets hassled by The Man, gets pushed back into crime trying to help his dear old momma, & goes out in a blaze of glory (sort of - he was captured & hanged after the glorious showdown).
Unfortunately, the boy happens to be Ned Kelly, Australia's most ambiguous hero. Debating what sort of a man Kelly really was is irrelevant now - the legend is far more important. An Irish renegade standing up to the imperialist forces, or a glorified criminal, blah, blah, blah. He may have been a horse-thief, he may have been a thug, he may have loved fluffy kittens - we'll never know for sure.
This film hardly attempts to get at any sort of historical truth - it's about rebellious youth breaking free from the stuffy establishment, hence the casting of Jagger. He's actually quite good, but his celebrity overshadows his performance. He might have worked, just not playing such a famous Australian icon. That elevates it to a type of ironic blasphemy.
Pity, really - it's not a bad film at all. Well shot, directed & acted, it does convey a sense of being back in the 19th century, & still manages to have that rebellious 60's/70's charm.
A much better (& far more brutal) Australian bushranger film is 'Mad Dog Morgan', starring Dennis Hopper, & his Irish accent is just a bit more convincing than Jagger's.
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