Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 13.92%
Just Average: 13.92%
Pretty Crappy: 13.92%
Sucks: 13.92%

5 reviews, 49 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Rob Gonsalves

Madeline's Madeline by Jay Seaver

Won't You Be My Neighbor? by Rob Gonsalves

Brothers' Nest by Jay Seaver

Mandy by Peter Sobczynski

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum by Jay Seaver

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms by Jay Seaver

Field Guide to Evil by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Ned Kelly (2004)
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Dust For Eyes

"Doesn't get past the armour"
3 stars

The latest film version of the life of Ned Kelly looks like an extended preview of an epic that has about an hour missing. Director Gregor Jordan’s crowd pleaser abilities - which worked so well in Two Hands - aren’t quiet up to the task of taking on this legendary anti-hero. What is in there though is just fantastic.

Timing is everything, and it is an interesting time indeed to release a film about an anti-folk-hero whose convictions were strong enough to kill. Despite killing a number of police officers, a campaign to pardon Kelly that led to a 30,000 signature petition was ignored and Kelly was duly hanged at the age of around 25 years old. So here we have a sympathetic story of a killer at a time when such thoughts could never be entertained in today’s world.

Using Robert Drew’s novel, ‘Our Sunshine,’ as a basis, Ned Kelly is the story of a folk legend condemned to be an enemy of the police. Despite police murders, horse thieving and bank robbery, Kelly (Ledger), his brother Dan (Kinlan), and friends Joe Byrne (Bloom) and Steve Hart (Barantini) – the Kelly Gang – become local heroes. This film tells of Kelly’s passage to legend and his final fate as the police led by Superintendent Hare (Rush) move in to take care of him.

In a story of doomed youth, this is a wholly sympathetic portrayal of Ned Kelly. Although shown as a killer, it is a regretful killer. He redistributes - Robin Hood style - bank robbery proceeds to people in the community. He is seen as a target of police victimisation, and the disputed event of the shooting of Alexander Fitzpatrick is shown entirely according to the Kelly version.

The cast of Australian big names (and few ring-ins) Rush, Watts and Griffiths are all top shelf performers and do just fine with what they have. Rush makes sure Superintendent Hare isn’t just a monster, Watts gives a measured - if a touch out-of-place - performance and Griffiths hams it up as a bank manager’s wife. Bloom is all charm as the womanising Joe Byrne.

It is Ledger though that you will be left with the biggest impression. He gives it his all and he pulls off some mighty fine scenes. He creates a Ned Kelly of passion, intensity and righteousness. There is fire in those dark, deep eyes and a barely contained desire for what he perceives as justice.

The photography and music show the biggest hint that this is an epic cut at the knees. It is beautifully photographed by Oliver Stapleton (who has worked with Robert Altman). The film captures the setting and condition of the time without sentiment. The ugliness and the beauty of the times are shown in equal measure. You do get a great sense of time and place. The violence of the film is shown in a matter of fact manner. The true effect of being shot is shown in this film. The music by Klaus Badelt (Pearl Harbor and Gladiator) is sweeping, majestic and huge. Their input into the memorable climax at Glenrowan makes it dramatic, moving and frightening.

Ned Kelly’s story deserves Badelt and Stapleton’s efforts. Yet the script just isn’t there. While it’s interesting to see the influence of things like the Jerilderie Letter in the dialogue, the film is far too rushed - it flies about at a frenetic pace barely pausing for breath. The characters aren’t fully realised and the relationships between each of them are underdeveloped. We don’t learn the evolution of the famous armour or how the Kelly Gang got together - they’re just, there. Even the Jerilderie letter excerpt that we hear Kelly speak edits out some of the colour of the language and insights into the man that was Ned Kelly.

Humour does have a place in epic films. There are some laughs here - good ones at that. Yet they interrupt the flow of the film just a touch.

Perhaps a Martin Scorcese, Peter Jackson or even Mel Gibson (if he wanted to make another Braveheart) could have done this story justice, but what we have here is a story with gaps which prevents the viewer making a true emotional connection. I ended up not liking this film as much as I wanted to, but it does do one thing. It inspires you to find out more about this fascinating man. Read Robert Drew, Ian Jones or Peter Carey’s books - you will only learn more from them to fill in this film’s disappointing cracks.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7271&reviewer=166
originally posted: 03/23/03 17:04:43
[printer] printer-friendly format  
For more in the Australian series, click here.

User Comments

6/09/16 Ned Kelly 5 stars
8/20/08 Geebus Eh. It was kinda mediocre. The story moved too fast and the script was pretty dodgy. 2 stars
8/11/07 Hello Stranger i saw nothing wrong with it. only ledger could pull this off. 4 stars
5/26/06 Poof weighs about 100kg 3 stars
5/18/06 chienne It's embarrassing, SO historically inaccurate, REALLY bad. Ugh! 1 stars
4/07/06 p you do realise that your compleately anti-irish you know 4 stars
6/16/05 Renee Casey This film was awesome, i really like Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom in this type of setting 5 stars
3/17/05 Landshark Folk-hero leaves moribund legacy, it is left unclear why we should remember the buckethead? 2 stars
1/04/05 Steve Newman What a great film. Different ending to any I had seen or read before. Was it true? 5 stars
11/03/04 andrew great movie go and watch it 5 stars
9/06/04 Nina Kelly its amazing! go see it! you have no clue what you're missing if you dont! 5 stars
8/12/04 danny theyre irish convicts not immigrants did the critic even watch this movie? 5 stars
7/27/04 Brit and Erin Orlando and Heith are great actors and the movie was amazing and a wonderful tear-jerker. 5 stars
6/14/04 Daniel Pearson good acting, nice cinematography, really bad script 3 stars
3/31/04 martin smith really good 5 stars
3/13/04 rory TRUE MASTERPIECE 5 stars
2/13/04 fi it was so great it was really sad but great just the same 5 stars
1/23/04 Chloe Brody They should have made this 1 1/2 hours longer - it would have been so much better!!! 4 stars
11/23/03 Nicole Not worth watching 1 stars
9/29/03 Troy Butler Although a well made movie, ... just a bit too hard to take in all of the added "fiction"! 3 stars
9/26/03 Chlo I loved this, the 4 main actors were brilliant - fantastic casting (Orlando is a hottie!) 5 stars
9/15/03 Trevor Gensch Shame they had to make so much up - the real story is a lot better 3 stars
8/22/03 kate i thought it was amazing 5 stars
7/28/03 Leilana Mackay I think it was one of my favourite movies. GO HEATH AND ORLANDO!! 5 stars
7/17/03 agent smith it sucked serious balls 1 stars
7/01/03 Larry OH GOD!! 1 stars
6/06/03 tazza shitty 1 stars
4/23/03 Jane Erickson a very unnerving movie, brought me to tears by the end, although more fiction than fact 4 stars
4/23/03 Melissa McGregor Pretty good, fine cast, well shot, completely bloody inaccurate though- shame. :) 4 stars
4/18/03 Orlando kix ass It surley on of the best I've seen in a while. but it still doesn't compare to lotr 5 stars
4/14/03 OrLaNdO_fOr_PrEsIdEnT AMAZING!Made me cry,laugh and evrything orlando and heath were exellent!Most of it true! 5 stars
4/12/03 Amy Caldwell Made me cry BUT I LOVED IT 5 stars
4/07/03 Josh McTaggart Awesome 5 stars
4/05/03 alien assassin Overblown rendition of Australia's most famous folk legend. Heath Ledger was good though. 3 stars
4/05/03 Rebecca Lawson I think the Ned Kelly movie is 1 of the best life storys ever but why would there be a love 5 stars
4/03/03 Shon Over-hyped, doesn't deliver. 2 stars
4/03/03 Nette did someone even tell John M. McDonagh Ned dies in the end? 4 stars
4/01/03 nessajoy Disappointing, average. The gang got as much sympathy from me as a Sydney surburban gang. 4 stars
4/01/03 John Bale Not yet the definative Kelly film, but very entertaining. Ledger impresses. 4 stars
3/31/03 Geoff A great period film. Agree with Bitchslap review. Heath is great. 4 stars
3/31/03 thomas whiteside It was totally unacurate, but an ok movie if you were just looking for a fictional drama! 2 stars
3/31/03 Nienna Anwamanë I thought it was a pretty good film! Unless you actually lived then, no probs! 5 stars
3/30/03 david james Had the mythology gone further more character depth 2 stars
3/30/03 Nikki After seeing the transformation from Legolas to Joe, I'm a hooked Orlando Bloom fan! 5 stars
3/30/03 punnani incredible, it made me cry ... and i never cry at the movies ... 4 stars
3/29/03 Lottie Bloom it is the best movie who says fictional it is a true story hun except 4 naomis character 5 stars
3/28/03 Felicity Campbell The movie ROCKED! Are you people blind? 5 stars
3/25/03 david james fictional but compelling 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  26-Mar-2004 (R)
  DVD: 27-Jul-2004



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast