Though recognized for heroism as a lad, Ned Kelly can not escape the stigma of being the eldest of a brood sired by a known criminal. In days when an arrest equaled guilt and a conviction, his unfair imprisonment for horse thievery puts him steadfast, in the eyes of Victorian police, on the wrong side of things for life. With a sister unable to dissuade the unwanted advances of Constable Fitzpatrick, Ned, his brother Dan, and friends Joe Byrne and Steve Hart soon find themselves labeled "an outlaw gang" by the less-than-honorable constable. It's a designation they're apt to live up to after Ned's mother is unfairly arrested and sentenced to three years hard labor. In retaliation, the Kelly Gang strikes out against the oppressive Victorian government, with ultimately tragic results and passage into Australian folklore.Written by
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell: Victorian Premier Graham Berry. Tingwell narrated The Glenrowan Affair (1951), Ned Kelly in Popular Culture (2003) (which appears as a special feature on the DVD release of this film) and Picture Pond Media's The Story of Ned Kelly (2002). He also provided the introduction to the audiobook version of Ian Jones' Ned Kelly: A Short Life. See more »
The bank that is robbed has "State Savings Bank" on the windows. Before federation in 1901, Australian states were officially independent colonies within the British Empire (ex. Colony of New South Wales). The bank in question was Bank of New South Wales, in Jerilderie, NSW. That name would have been on the windows. See more »
I was the hero of Hughes Creek. I can still see the glint in me Da's eye as he looked down at me, his hand on me shoulder. What did he call me that day? Ah, what did Da call me? That's right. He called me Sunshine.
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Based on the famous novel 'Our Sunshine', 'Ned Kelly' is a watchable film. The problem is the way the story is told. There have been quite a number of films based on heroic legends. Sadly, this one is no different and almost every moment of it is downright predictable.
The strength lies in the portrayal of the characters. Kelly and his gang are portrayed as human beings rather than the typical ruthless heroes suffering from affective flattening. On the other hand, the screenplay is so fast paced that one wonders whether Jordan really rushed through it as 'Ned Kelly' certainly would have benefited more if the script was better developed (e.g. Julia Cook could have used more scenes). As a result the film looks more like a brief summary of Kelly's life. We don't even see the trial and execution of Ned Kelly.
In the technical department, the cinematography, background score and beautiful locations deserve mention as they certainly add to the film's quality. There are some beautiful shots of the Australian landscape and the set design and few songs do give a feel of the time.
Heath Ledger is adequate in the title role but it is Orlando Bloom who steals the show. The guy seems to be in complete form (unlike his awkward presence in films like 'Kingdom of Heaven') and does full justice to the part. Naomi Watts shines in a small role. Geoffrey Rush deserved a better part but the actor nonetheless stands out. Most of the supporting cast do well. However, some of the villainous corrupt cops come across as caricatures.
Finally, Jordan's 'Ned Kelly' just doesn't do full justice in portraying Kelly's life. It ends up being a clichéd film and a mere summary of the legend. If one has nothing else to do, they might want to check 'Ned Kelly' out just to kill time but if one wants to learn about the legend, then this isn't the best source.
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