Monday, May 2, 2011

"Ned Kelly"

While in Pemberton, we continued our series of Australian movies with the 2003 version of Ned Kelly.  This is based on the life of an infamous Australian in the 19th century.  The movie stars Heath Ledger as Kelly, Orlando Bloom, Naomi Watts, and Geoffrey Rush.

Ned Kelly was a bushranger (an Australian outlaw), the son of an Irish convict who had been transported to Australia.  At a young age, Kelly was convicted of stealing a horse which had actually been stolen by a friend.  After his release, Kelly has subsequent run-ins with Victorian police, eventually resulting in him killing three policemen.  This obviously results in Kelly and his small gang becoming wanted criminals.  Kelly's gang hides in the bush, emerging to rob two banks. 

Eventually, the Victorian police catch up to Kelly and his gang in Glenrowan where a vicious shootout results in the death of the gang and the capture of Kelly.  He is subsequently convicted of murder and hung at the age of 25.  The shootout is particularly noteworthy because the gang wore home-made armor like a medieval knight.

Much like Jesse James or other American outlaws, Ned Kelly has become an Australian legend and a symbol for anti-authoritarian ideals.  He has also been mythologized as an Australian "Robin Hood."

As for the movie, it seems to have stayed true to the major events in Ned Kelly's brief life.  However, he and his gang are portrayed in a very positive light.  Overall, we enjoyed the film.  It has some great scenery and we learned about this Australian legend.

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