Director Gregor Jordan ("Buffalo Soldiers") knows how to weave fact and folklore to elevate this tale of an Australian Robin Hood.
Heath Ledger makes this good guy gone bad seem worthy of his legendary status - he makes it easy to root for the outlaws.
| Original Score: 3/5
The production is always engaging, always compelling, but to what end? What happens in Australia after Ned Kelly and his band make their mark? The film doesn't say.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Jordan stages the action scenes with energy and aplomb; when his heroes dive headlong into mythology, they do it with gusto and plenty of ammunition.
Monotonous and drags toward the end.
| Original Score: 2/4
There's a serious dose of historical relevance adding breadth to the western-y shootin' and robbin'. Not to mention, the brilliantly lit nature shots are as stunning as the leads.
| Original Score: B+
There is a potent national epic struggling to find expression here, but this movie is too rushed and fragmented to do it justice.
| Original Score: 2/5
A highly formal and conventional film that is too often merely ponderous when it should be stirring.
Challenging, dramatic, provocative.
Fans of American Westerns will find plenty to like, so long as they can get their heads around the accents and the occasional wombat.
| Original Score: B
When the whole thing's over, we're left with almost no sense of why this story has been such an enduring part of Australian pop culture and national identity for the last 125 years.
Manages to shrink the grandness of the myth without clarifying our understanding of the man.
| Original Score: B-
starts off as predictable but enjoyable nonsense and goes so thoroughly off the rails,
Elegantly mounted and realized, to be sure, but basically a fairly conventional portrait of your typical noble rebel...it might have been much more.
Marks a welcome departure from the usual rah-rah machismo of the semi-nationalist action adventure, but Jordan never escapes the mighty shadow of The Thin Red Line.
Begs for deeper answers, but never provides them.
Reasonably engrossing Western, but lacks political resonance.
Where Ned Kelly deviates from more traditional melodramatic hero-ographies is in its visual and symbolic landscape.
In a genre where the good guys and the bad guys can often be distinguished by the color of their hats, Ned Kelly is most welcome...a good guy who is also a bad guy.
Think Braveheart Down Under-an impossibly masturbatory, unilateral act of hero worship.
| Original Score: 1.5/4