Ned Kelly – *1/2

Posted: February 17, 2014 in 2003, Australia, Drama, Historical, X1/2

Travelling from Albury to Melbourne makes you stop in several places like Beechworth and Glenrowan, that boom on the Australian hero hype called Ned Kelly. Everywhere you go you see references to this notorious and popular bush ranger who stood up against the Victorian police some 120 years ago. The first Australian movie dealt about his legacy and it has been retold in many different versions.

The last adaption for the big screen was made a few years ago with a stellar cast including Heath Ledger as Ned Kelly, Orlando Bloom as his buddy and Naomi Watts as his love interest. I guess they hoped to get the story across to Europe and North America as well.

Alas. They failed. To me, this Ned Kelly remains a lowlife criminal who defied the authorities. I don’t believe any of the romanticized depiction. Heath Ledger makes this crook so admirable and charming that it just doesn’t feel right. Naomi unconvincingly plays a damsel in distress, who doesn’t add anything to the story. But Orlando Bloom kind of surprises even though his character is just supporting. However, the actors are not to blame. The storytellers and the director are. If this is Australia’s favourite historical character, them Australia needs to create a new one fast. What a bore!

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