running time: 120 minutes
classification: M 15+
There’s something iconic about Ned Kelly. Villain or victim? Every legend spins it differently. Personally, I have my own theories…I should write a book, hm?
Besides being biased because it’s about Australian legend and has famous Aussie actors, I think it’s a gritty, amazing and sad film. (Okay, let’s put it plainly: I loved it!) The filming and cinematography are excellent, catching perfect angles and light, making it one of those visually astounding displays. The acting is top class. And the plot fills in the details and has it’s soft moments, but the action always comes back in with a bang. Literally. Guns all around.
But, I have to admit, I did struggle with the accents. They’re brilliant accents and I loved them (who doesn’t like Irish brogue?!) But… it took me a while to get the hang of the Irish mix. I missed the betrayal of the Kelly gang’s old mate and did a double take when they took their revenge. What? When…? There’s swearing, mostly mild, and plenty of violence and blood. Er, blood everywhere. But take the classification into consideration. It’s not a movie for the faint hearted.
Ned Kelly (played by Heath Ledger), Joe Byrne (Orlando Bloom), Dan Kelly (Ned’s little brother) and Steve Hart spend most of their adventures in the bush, getting shot at or shooting police. It’s four against the world and it’s a sad story. You see the moral decline of the men as they go further into being outlaws, unable to turn back or repent. Their lives waste away and, during the crushing finale, you can’t help but choke back a few sobs as the inevitable happens. The film’s about Ned Kelly. If you know the history, you know what the end result is.
That doesn’t stop it from being sad. Listening to the brilliant soundtrack (composed by Klaus Badelt), I watched the outlaws give brilliant stands as bullets reigned and their fates were decided and —
It’s unfair, it’s cruel, it’s legend. Ned Kelly is a film I hold in high regard, wondering just how the demise of the real Kelly gang came about and wondering…did it all really start because a jealous policeman lied?