Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly

Making no attempt at factual accuracy, Ned Kelly is still an engaging action film with its heart in the right place. You don't need to be a student of Australian history to know that a movie about the life of the notorious folk hero and outlaw is not going to be a light-hearted romp through the outback. Injustice, persecution, and unlawful imprisonment are the meat of his story, all presented here with not too much of a rose-tinted perspective amid generous doses of obligatory action. Rebellious teenager Ned Kelly (Heath Ledger) is wrongfully imprisoned for stealing a horse and, when he returns to the bosom of his large Irish family, finds that the police won't let him go straight. After being accused of a crime he didn't commit, Kelly is left with no option but to go on the run. Accompanied by his gang (among them Orlando Bloom) he robs banks to survive and also to gather the money to free his family from prison. There is some considerable romanticizing of the story and the man himself, due in part to Ledger's affable Robin Hood-esque working-class hero portrayal. Bloom is wide-eyed and daring as Kelly's main man, and Naomi Watts as his married mistress has the thankless task of breaking up some great action sequences to play the unnecessary love interest. Originally filmed as a Mick Jagger vehicle in 1970. --Kristen Bowditch

Director(s): Tony Richardson
Production: Focus Features
  3 wins & 14 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

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