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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 13.92%
Average: 13.92%
Pretty Bad: 13.92%
Total Crap: 13.92%

5 reviews, 49 user ratings

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Ned Kelly (2004)
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"Poetry and motion"
5 stars

Gregor Jordan and cinematographer Oliver Stapleton give Ned Kelly an arresting, bleached-muddy look, signalling that 1870s Australia was a very different place from today and instilling a foreboding that fate has had it in for the legendary bushranger from the start. Close-ups of flora and fauna contribute a peculiarly Australian aspect, and certain scenes (deliberately) echo the landscapes of painter Sidney Nolan.

John McDonagh’s impressive first screenplay was reworked by Jordan to follow a linear narrative. It remarkably captures the poetry of Robert Drewe’s speculative history, Our Sunshine. Hearing Ned’s poetic stream of thought adds to the feeling that we’re viewing a legend unfolding, rather than witnessing the historical events of a traditional biopic. We gain a glimpse into the workings of Ned’s mind, which brings us closer but paradoxically also distances, since his world is so alien.

Heath Ledger is authoritative in the role, and conveys the requisite warmth, youth, ruggedness, determination and charisma. He binds the film, which covers a lot of ground and includes a large cast of characters. They may have only a handful of scenes, but skilled actors like Joel Edgerton, Rachel Griffiths and Naomi Watts leave a strong impression. Geoffrey Rush disappoints as a clichéd, ceaselessly glowering Javert. He’s one of those meaningless several-stern-policemen-rolled-into-one roles we’re familiar with from films like Norman Jewison’s The Hurricane.

Jordan’s Glenrowan finale is especially fine. It’s a mixture of the rousing (Ned’s heroic last stand) and emotional (the deaths of innocent civilians) with the pathetic (the fate of Dan, Steve and Joe) and surreal (circus animals and performers, the otherworldly armour). My only significant criticism relates to the overly strident music of Klaus Badelt.

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originally posted: 08/14/03 13:51:50
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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
8/12/07 Hello Stranger i saw nothing wrong with it. only ledger could pull this off. 4 stars
5/27/06 Poof weighs about 100kg 3 stars
5/18/06 chienne It's embarrassing, SO historically inaccurate, REALLY bad. Ugh! 1 stars
4/08/06 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
1/05/05 Steve Newman What a great film. Different ending to any I had seen or read before. Was it true? 5 stars
11/04/04 andrew great movie go and watch it 5 stars
9/07/04 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
7/28/04 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
3/14/04 rory TRUE MASTERPIECE 5 stars
2/14/04 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
11/24/03 Nicole Not worth watching 1 stars
9/30/03 Troy Butler Although a well made movie, ... just a bit too hard to take in all of the added "fiction"! 3 stars
9/27/03 Chlo I loved this, the 4 main actors were brilliant - fantastic casting (Orlando is a hottie!) 5 stars
9/16/03 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
7/29/03 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
4/19/03 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
4/15/03 OrLaNdO_fOr_PrEsIdEnT AMAZING!Made me cry,laugh and evrything orlando and heath were exellent!Most of it true! 5 stars
4/13/03 Amy Caldwell Made me cry BUT I LOVED IT 5 stars
4/08/03 Josh McTaggart Awesome 5 stars
4/06/03 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
4/02/03 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
4/01/03 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
3/31/03 david james Had the mythology gone further more character depth 2 stars
3/31/03 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
3/26/03 david james fictional but compelling 4 stars
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  26-Mar-2004 (R)
  DVD: 27-Jul-2004



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