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Ned Kelly (2003)

tomatometer

56

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 24

More depth about the legendary outlaw would be welcome, but as it is, Ned Kelly is a reasonably entertaining Western.

25

Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 12

More depth about the legendary outlaw would be welcome, but as it is, Ned Kelly is a reasonably entertaining Western.

audience

55

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 41,025

My Rating

Movie Info

In the latter part of the 19th century, Australia is still largely untamed. The former penal colony's first-generation Irish immigrant population lives in poverty. Having already experienced police brutality and the death of his father, bushranger Ned Kelly is wrongfully imprisoned on the trumped-up charge of stealing a horse. Emerging a few years later, in 1874, Ned is hardened but vows to stay straight. Rejoining his widowed mother and younger siblings, he makes money for his family as a

R,

Western, Drama, Action & Adventure

John Michael McDonagh

Jul 27, 2004

Focus Features - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (62) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (24) | DVD (11)

Ultimately, Jordan's vision is so murky that Ned Kelly remains as foreign to us as wombat stew.

May 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If Ned Kelly is supposed to be an anti-hero to root for, his speeches border on parody and his cause is really unclear.

March 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Offers a couple of well-filmed showdowns and lots of pretty landscapes, but you need more than scenic views and stylish action to chronicle a life, especially one as controversial as Kelly's.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A leaden retelling of the legend of Australia's Jesse James that has understandably been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years.

March 26, 2004
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A handsome, action-packed biographical drama with a credibility gap wider than the screen.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ledger, talking into his chest for much of the film in an apparent effort to lend gravity to his performance, is pretty stiff, but so is Jordan's direction.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Much as late 19th century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly was a charismatic figure who won the adulation of the Irish immigrant masses there, Heath Ledger as that romantic revolutionary of the film's title breathes astonishing vigor into the role.

May 26, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

Director Jordan fails to deliver a film worthy of such mythical figure.

March 16, 2005 Full Review

The story might have more resonance with Australians, since compared to American folk heroes Ledger's Ned Kelly comes off as a bit square and self-serious.

January 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

[A] tricky film, punctuated by bursts of staccato surrealism and bitter humor...

September 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Rises above its own shortcomings through Heath Ledger's electric embodiment of Ned.

August 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Ned Kelly suggests that not only do you not need anything of interest to watch, but you don't even need to see it at all.

July 28, 2004 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

A ride that doesn't take us far enough.

April 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Details such as the film's stark Victoria locations and the clunky suits of steel armor the Kellys fashion for the climactic showdown root things in a distinctive time and place, allowing viewers to experience the familiar storyline in a fresh way.

April 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

A hefty dose of Australian history and legend, magnificently enhanced by a landscape that serves as more than just travelogue.

March 30, 2004 Full Review Source: FilmStew.com

This is a traditional western, not a great one...

March 27, 2004
Greenwich Village Gazette

This handsomely produced historical drama never fully engages your attention.

March 26, 2004
Reel.com

Jordan's nightmarish vision of the Australian landscape is vividly haunting.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It just couldn't get any duller.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Ned Kelly

Well that was lovely and depressing now, wasn't it? And a bit of a spoiler, but that is the second time I have had to watch Orlando Bloom die on screen. It doesn't get any easier. Speaking of, I liked him in this role! Less stiff and form, a bit cuter and jokey than oh... all of his other roles? I also wished Geoffrey Rush's part was a bit bigger, but such is life. I liked it for what it was, but I was overwhelmingly captivated by it all. I watched it for pretty faces and I kinda got that.
January 8, 2011
MeetMeinMontauk
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

This outback-set western is based on the life of Ned Kelly, Australia's most celebrated outlaw who enjoyed a Robin Hood like reputation in the late 19th century. Although a lot of period set, rose-tinted tales of the old west tend to romanticize their heroes, Ned Kelly's reverential treatment of the subject matter goes beyond romanticism and into sheer fantasy. All the lawmen are a bunch of corrupt, murdering rapists, save Geoffrey Rush who hardly gets a look in, and Ned Kelly is shown as a totally innocent and noble champion of the people and he and his gang sweep through the land robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, stopping only for some wombat stew and to bed some swooning groupies. The characterisation as a whole is borderline laughable, Heath Ledger having little to do but attach a small shrub to his face and look earnest. It does have some decent photography and a decent shoot out at the climax, but the endless quivering lower lips accompanied by penny whistles that lead there makes it barely worthwhile. Content to rip off the likes of Jesse James and Braveheart rather than present anything approaching a believable portrait of the man, this pseudo-historical claptrap left me rather cold and far worse, rather bored.
August 4, 2010
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A bit of a one sided portrayal of one of Ireland?s great anti-heroes. The acting isn?t awful and the direction isn?t bad, it?s just not a very captivating film. Time progressions are poorly projected and character studies are a little mixed up. It?s a very average film to be fair.
October 2, 2009
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Story of the impoverished Irish immigrant Kelly family living in Australia in the latter part of the 19th century. Bushranger Ned Kelly(Heath Ledger) is wrongfully accused and imprisoned of stealing a horse, but emerges a few years later with his mother and siblings in which he makes money as a bare-knuckle boxer. After Ned and his mother are unjustly charged with murder, Ned Kelly is determined to avenge his family's name and strike back against his people's oppressors.
Ledger's portrayal of the Jesse James-esque Kelly is quite brilliant as he and his gang become the invincible "outlaws" of the Outback. Ned Kelly becomes a legend/hero, and still is to this day for his valor, and keen insight into justice so often ignored by so called authority figures.
March 27, 2009
yona71

Super Reviewer

    1. Kate Kelly: They said i'd lost what it meant to be human, maybe never had it in the first place, but wasn't this about protecting the ones I loved? The ones who gave me food, and shelter, even the clothes on me back? And therefore wasn't it now a war?
    – Submitted by Glenn F (2 years ago)
    1. Ned Kelly: Such is life.
    – Submitted by Jaime J (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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