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Ned Kelly (2003 film)

Ned Kelly (2003 film)

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Ned Kelly is an Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n drama film
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 directed by Gregor Jordan
Gregor Jordan
Gregor Jordan is an Australian film director.Jordan's films include Two Hands , Buffalo Soldiers , and Ned Kelly . He has also directed the concert video These Days: Live in Concert by Australian rock band Powderfinger.His film Two Hands won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Direction...

. The film portrays the life of Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly
Edward "Ned" Kelly was an Irish Australian bushranger. He is considered by some to be merely a cold-blooded cop killer — others, however, consider him to be a folk hero and symbol of Irish Australian resistance against the Anglo-Australian ruling class.Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish...

 — a legendary bushranger
Bushranger
Bushrangers, or bush rangers, originally referred to runaway convicts in the early years of the British settlement of Australia who had the survival skills necessary to use the Australian bush as a refuge to hide from the authorities...

 in northeast Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

. Ned Kelly, his brother Dan
Dan Kelly (bushranger)
Dan Kelly was an Australian bushranger and outlaw. The son of an Irish convict, he was the youngest brother of the bushranger, Ned Kelly. Dan and his brother killed three policemen. With two friends, they formed the Kelly Gang...

, and two other men — Steve Hart
Steve Hart
Steve Hart was an Australian bushranger renowned for his membership in the Kelly Gang.-History:Hart was born in Wangaratta to Irish immigrant parents Richard and Bridget Hart...

 and Joe Byrne
Joe Byrne
Joe Byrne was an Australian bushranger born in Victoria to an Irish immigrant. A friend of Ned Kelly, he was a member of the Kelly Gang, who were declared outlaws after the murder of three policemen at Stringybark Creek...

 — formed a gang of Irish Australian
Irish Australian
Irish Australians have played a long and enduring part in Australia's history. Many came to Australia in the eighteenth century as settlers or as convicts, and contributed to Australia's development in many different areas....

s in response to Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 tensions that arose in 19th century Australia. The film is mainly based on Robert Drewe
Robert Drewe
Robert Duncan Drewe is an Australian journalist, novelist and short story writer.-Biography:Drewe was born in Melbourne, but moved with his family to Perth, Western Australia at the age of six. He was educated at Hale School, and in his final year was appointed School Captain...

's book Our Sunshine
Our Sunshine
Our Sunshine is a 1991 novel based on the life of Ned Kelly, a 19th-century Irish-Australian bushranger. The novel was written by Robert Drewe and was the basis for the 2003 film Ned Kelly.-First edition:...

. Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger
Heath Andrew Ledger was an Australian television and film actor. After performing roles in Australian television and film during the 1990s, Ledger moved to the United States in 1998 to develop his film career...

 plays the title role as Edward 'Ned' Kelly. The 2003 version is a remake of the 1906 The Story of the Kelly Gang
The Story of the Kelly Gang
The Story of the Kelly Gang is a 1906 Australian film that traces the life of the legendary bushranger Ned Kelly . It was written and directed by Charles Tait. The film ran for more than an hour, and was the longest narrative film yet seen in Australia, and the world. Its approximate reel length...

 which is recognized in the film industry as the first feature film
Feature film
In the film industry, a feature film is a film production made for initial distribution in theaters and being the main attraction of the screening, rather than a short film screened before it; a full length movie...

 ever made.

Plot


The film starts out with a young Ned Kelly rescuing a young boy from drowning. It then pans to the Australian bush with Ned talking about his father. He then awakens in the Australian outback and sees a white mare
Mare
Female horses are called mares.Mare is the Latin word for "sea".The word may also refer to:-People:* Ahmed Marzooq, also known as Mare, a footballer and Secretary General of Maldives Olympic Committee* Mare Winningham, American actress and singer...

. He rides it into town, only to be arrested and subsequently imprisoned in 1871, for supposedly stealing the horse, even though it had actually been stolen by Wild Wright, Ned's friend.

Two years later Ned is released and comes home to a warm welcome from his Catholic Irish family. The Kelly family are seemingly working to get ahead in life, by owning horses and farming. One night at a bar, a local Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 Police Officer named Fitzpatrick, offers to buy Ned's sister a drink. After several attempts, Kate Kelly insists she doesn't want one. Ned intervenes and hostilities ensue when fellow Officers help Fitzpatrick. Getting back at Ned, the Victoria Police Officers confiscate the Kellys horses. Ned, his brother Dan and their friends Steve Hart, Joe Byrne and Wild Wright steal back their horses. One evening later, Fitzpatrick arrives at the Kelly house, while Ned is away, to visit Kate, only to be told that she doesn't want to see him. Fitzpatrick tells them they have warrants for them, for horse stealing. A fight ensues and Fizpatrick returns to the Police office, telling the others that Ned Kelly shot him.

The Police then arrest Ned's mother (in Ned's absence). Ned, Dan, Steve and Joe become outlaws on the run. They later meet some Police in the Victorian bushlands and kill Constable Lonnigan and two other Officers in a shootout. For the following months the "Kelly Gang" avoids capture, living in the outback, often without food. The Colonial Government sends in Superintendent
Superintendent (police)
Superintendent , often shortened to "super", is a rank in British police services and in most English-speaking Commonwealth nations. In many Commonwealth countries the full version is superintendent of police...

 Francis Hare, who arrests many people including Joe Byrne's life-long friend, Aaron Sherrit. Sherrit, being told that they don't want to harm his friend Joe, but only want the Kellys, provides a location where the gang might be. Byrne learns of this and arrives one night armed with a loaded shotgun and kills Aaron for being an informant.

The next day the Kelly Gang take over the town of Glenrowan, taking seventy hostages at the Glenrowan Inn, but also winning the trust of the townspeople there. Hare and the Police are set to capture the gang as their train is saved from derailment by a released hostage. The Police then lay siege to the inn at dawn. The Kelly Gang, using plate metal body armour, emerge from the inn and begin shooting, but are forced inside again. Joe Byrne is shot and dies inside the inn. Morning passes, and the Police wonder where the outlaws are. Ned then re-emerges from the inn but is shot in the arms and legs and falls. Dan and Steve, thinking all is lost, commit suicide. Ned regains consciousness and even though gravely injured, continues to fire at the Police. He finally is shot to the ground and taken down.

Loaded on a train, Ned's beloved green sash is given to Hare as the train steers away. It is noted that even with a pardon, which had a petition of over 30,000 signatures, Ned Kelly was sentenced to death for the murder of Constable Lonigan and hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol on November 11 1880.

Cast

  • Heath Ledger
    Heath Ledger
    Heath Andrew Ledger was an Australian television and film actor. After performing roles in Australian television and film during the 1990s, Ledger moved to the United States in 1998 to develop his film career...

     as Ned Kelly
    Ned Kelly
    Edward "Ned" Kelly was an Irish Australian bushranger. He is considered by some to be merely a cold-blooded cop killer — others, however, consider him to be a folk hero and symbol of Irish Australian resistance against the Anglo-Australian ruling class.Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish...

  • Orlando Bloom
    Orlando Bloom
    Orlando Jonathan Blanchard Bloom is an English actor. He had his break-through roles in 2001 as the elf-prince Legolas in The Lord of the Rings and starring in 2003 as blacksmith Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, and subsequently established himself as a lead in Hollywood...

     as Joe Byrne
    Joe Byrne
    Joe Byrne was an Australian bushranger born in Victoria to an Irish immigrant. A friend of Ned Kelly, he was a member of the Kelly Gang, who were declared outlaws after the murder of three policemen at Stringybark Creek...

  • Geoffrey Rush
    Geoffrey Rush
    Geoffrey Roy Rush is an Australian actor and film producer. He is one of the few people who has won the "Triple Crown of Acting": an Academy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award. He has won one Academy Award for acting , three British Academy Film Awards , two Golden Globe Awards and four Screen...

     as Superintendent Francis Hare
  • Naomi Watts
    Naomi Watts
    Naomi Ellen Watts is a British actress. Watts began her career in Australian television, where she appeared in series such as Hey Dad..! , Brides of Christ , and Home and Away . Her film debut was the 1986 drama For Love Alone...

     as Julia Cook
  • Joel Edgerton
    Joel Edgerton
    Joel Edgerton is an Australian film and television actor.-Early life:Edgerton was born in Blacktown, Sydney, to a homemaker mother and a solicitor/property developer father, Michael. His brother, Nash Edgerton, is a stuntman and filmmaker...

     as Aaron Sherritt
    Aaron Sherritt
    Australian police informer Aaron Sherritt was an associate of the gang of outlaws led by Ned Kelly. He grew up in the same area as them and was especially close to gang member Joe Byrne. At one stage he became engaged to Byrne's sister....

  • Laurence Kinlan as Dan Kelly
    Dan Kelly (bushranger)
    Dan Kelly was an Australian bushranger and outlaw. The son of an Irish convict, he was the youngest brother of the bushranger, Ned Kelly. Dan and his brother killed three policemen. With two friends, they formed the Kelly Gang...

  • Philip Barantini as Steve Hart
    Steve Hart
    Steve Hart was an Australian bushranger renowned for his membership in the Kelly Gang.-History:Hart was born in Wangaratta to Irish immigrant parents Richard and Bridget Hart...

  • Kerry Condon
    Kerry Condon
    Kerry Condon is an Irish television and film actress.She was born in Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland. Her roles include Victoria in Unleashed , and Kate Kelly in the 2003 film Ned Kelly...

     as Kate Kelly
  • Kris McQuade
    Kris McQuade
    Kris McQuade is an Australian actress who has had many film, television and theatre roles.Her film credits include: The Love Letters from Teralba Road, Kostas, Fighting Back, Lonely Hearts, Goodbye Paradise, The Coca-Cola Kid, Strictly Ballroom, Billy's Holiday and December Boys.Television credits...

     as Ellen Kelly
  • Emily Browning
    Emily Browning
    Emily Jane Browning is an Australian film actress and fashion model, known for her roles as Violet Baudelaire in Brad Silberling's 2004 film Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, as Anna Ivers in the 2009 film The Uninvited, as Babydoll in Zack Snyder's 2011 action thriller Sucker...

     as Grace Kelly
  • Kiri Paramore as Constable Fitzpatrick
  • Rachel Griffiths
    Rachel Griffiths
    Rachel Anne Griffiths is an Australian film and television actress who came to prominence in the 1994 film Muriel's Wedding and her Academy Award nominated performance in the 1997 film Hilary and Jackie....

     as Susan Scott
  • Geoff Morrell as Robert Scott
  • Charles Tingwell
    Charles Tingwell
    In 1941, aged 18, he volunteered for war service overseas with the Royal Australian Air Force. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, personnel from Commonwealth air forces were part of a joint training and assignment system. Consequently, Tingwell trained as a pilot in Canada during 1942...

     as Premier Graham Berry
    Graham Berry
    Sir Graham Berry KCMG , Australian colonial politician, was the 11th Premier of Victoria. He was one of the most Radical and colourful figures in the politics of colonial Victoria, and made the most determined efforts to break the power of the Victorian Legislative Council, the stronghold of the...

  • Andrew Formosa as Park Ranger
    Park ranger
    A park ranger or forest ranger is a person entrusted with protecting and preserving parklands – national, state, provincial, or local parks. Different countries use different names for the position. Ranger is the favored term in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Within the United...

  • Saskia Burmeister
    Saskia Burmeister
    Saskia Burmeister is anAustralian actress. She is most known for her roles in Hating Alison Ashley and Sea Patrol....

     as Jane Jones
  • Talia Zucker
    Talia Zucker
    -Biography:She also played the role of Claire Jardine in the ABC series Dirt Game with Joel Edgerton and Gerald Lepkowski in 2009. Talia appeared as a guest character in the Australian drama series City Homicide and played a lead role in the children's series Scooter: Secret Agent and Legacy of the...

     as Sarah Wicks

Reception


In total, the film grossed $6,585,516 worldwide. It received mixed reviews, with a 55% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

. One review of the film comments "Heath Ledger gives a solid performance in the lead but Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush are woefully underused." BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 film reviewer Nev Pierce gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, stating "there is some impressive action, albeit great scenes rather than sequences", concluding with "a rousing, watchable western". Jay Richardson from FutureMovies.co.uk stated "this is a competent and blandly enjoyable film with a solid central performance from Heath Ledger". Megan Spencer from ABC.Net said "Thankfully Ned Kelly is a very cinematic Australian film, the international and local cast and crew made the most of their $30 million budget. And some of the best sequences are due in part to Heath Ledger's well delivered internal dialogue voice over, giving an inner life to the musings of a troubled anti-hero". Clint Morris, a reviewer from Film Threat, who gave the film 3 and half stars out of 5, said "It’s an exciting movie filled with plenty of action, adventure, beautiful cinematography and best of all, terrific performances..." while praising Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger
Heath Andrew Ledger was an Australian television and film actor. After performing roles in Australian television and film during the 1990s, Ledger moved to the United States in 1998 to develop his film career...

: "Heath Ledger is fantastic as Kelly. He gives a very immersing performance, and has misshapen himself into the character. When he wears that infamous tin helmet in the finale, we actually feel that’s the real deal".

More critically one review describes the battle for Glenrowan, with masses of police and civilian casualties, along with a lion and monkey as "fictional nonsense".

External links

  • Ned Kelly at Metacritic
    Metacritic
    Metacritic.com is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green,...