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Genre: Crime/Drama
Starring: Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Naomi Watts, Geoffrey Rush, Joel Edgerton
Director: Gregor Jordan
Rating: NC-16 (Some Nudity)
Year Made: 2003
Official Website:




Languages: English
Subtitles: -
Running Time: 1 hr 50 mins
Format: VCD
Distributor: Comstar




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 (Heath Ledger) 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 champion bare-knuckle boxer. He also toils as a farmhand on the estate of an English landowner - with whose beautiful wife Julia (Naomi Watts) Ned shares a mutual attraction.

But the British colonial system and its Victorian English enforcers remain prejudiced against Australia's working people, and the struggling Kelly family is no exception. When, in 1878, a bullying police officer is rebuffed by Ned's younger sister Kate and targets the family for harassment, Ned and his mother are unjustly charged with attempted murder.

Ned is determined to avenge his family's name and strike back against his people's oppressors. While hiding in the bush, he forms a loyal Gang that includes his best friend and first lieutenant Joe Byrne (Orlando Bloom). A chance encounter with the police culminates in shots ringing out, and three officers are killed. The Kelly Gang is forced to go on the run. They blaze a trail through the Outback, robbing banks to fund themselves as well as to recover immigrants' land deeds, and giving police the runaround. The Kelly Gang's reputation as invincible outlaws grows, as does nationwide support from their immigrant countrymen.

To the masses, Ned is a hero. To lawmen and the establishment, he is the most wanted man in Australia. £8,000 is offered for his capture - at the time, the highest reward the world had known. When the authorities bring in the formidable Superintendent Francis Hare (Geoffrey Rush), and an army of police, with carte blanche to capture and/or kill the outlaws, Ned strategizes a risky showdown at the Glenrowan Inn. It is this event which will seal his fate - and his legend.


A great cast with powerful performances which is based on a story “Our Sunshine” by Robert Drewe, it is an inspirational and real-life story of seeking justice in a biased and corrupted society. This is not the first time the director, Gregor Jordan works with Ledger – they worked before in Jordan’s first film, Two Hands. Obviously they had collaborated well, as Jordan is able to bring out a fantastic portrayal of Ned from Ledger.

Already been brutally bullied by local police and the death of his father, Ned Kelly (Heath Ledger – A Knight’s Tale) was being wrongly imprisoned of stealing a horse and beating up a cop. After his release, the local authorities were constantly watching him as if hoping misfortune befalls on him again. In British colonial system where the law enforcers were prejudiced against the Australians, a jerky policeman was eyeing the affections of Ned’s younger sister, Kate (Kerry Condon) who rebuffed the guy. In return, the cop stirred trouble for the family, causing Ned Kelly and his mother to be implicated, charging them with attempted murder.

Ned Kelly, a victim of circumstances was forced into being an outlaw after seeing injustice being paid to his family. He and his gang went into hiding and planned to fight back injustice in the current system. His gang includes his best friend, Joe (Orlando Bloom) and Dan (Laurence Kinlan) where together they fight against corrupted authorities oppressing the people. Not forgetting his lover, Naomi Watts, a married woman whom both of them has mutual liking for each other. Naomi Watts’ fans might be in for a disappointment as there are little of her on the screen.

Overnight, people regard them as legendary heroes as they robbed the banks to help the needy. Soon he and his gang gains popularity and diehard support, with the Chief of Police, Francis Hare (Geoffrey Rush) hot on his trail. Ned Kelly was considered the most notorious wanted man in Australia to the lawmen. Eventually a showdown between Hare and Kelly changed his fate and so his legend is born.

Well I find that they are a courageous bunch who believe in what they do is right although they do it on the wrong side of the law. I actually envy them for their courage in unmoved faith. They are portrayed as modern Robin Hoods where they rob the rich to help the poor. There are a few scenes that my heart gave it out to them and felt that life is so unfair to them.

Although it is a typical story of a innocent man being jailed and get hassled by police, forced back to crimes in a glaze of fury and eventually captured and punished, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I even watched it twice, unable to resist the charming and emotional performances by Bloom and Ledger.


Review by Angeline Ng


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This review is made possible with the kind support from Comstar


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