Gripping action and powerful performances by some of today's hottest stars come together in this epic story of a real-life outlaw who defied the law and inspired his people. Actor Heath Ledger (The Four Feathers, A Knight's Tale) brings a raw intensity to the role of Ned Kelly, an innocent man driven to fight the corrupt authorities oppressing his people. Joining Ned's legendary gang is his best friend, Joe, played with devilish charm by Orlando Bloom (Troy, Pirates of the Caribbean) and sexy Academy Award Nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams, The Ring) as Ned's lover, Julia. Overnight, the Kelly Gang become heroes to their people. But as their popularity grows, they quickly find themselves the target of a ruthless lawman, (Geoffrey Rush) who soon makes them the most wanted men the world has ever known.
Making no attempt at factual accuracy, Ned Kelly
is still an engaging action film with its heart in the right place. You don't need to be a student of Australian history to know that a movie about the life of the notorious folk hero and outlaw is not going to be a light-hearted romp through the outback. Injustice, persecution, and unlawful imprisonment are the meat of his story, all presented here with not too much of a rose-tinted perspective amid generous doses of obligatory action. Rebellious teenager Ned Kelly (Heath Ledger) is wrongfully imprisoned for stealing a horse and, when he returns to the bosom of his large Irish family, finds that the police won't let him go straight. After being accused of a crime he didn't commit, Kelly is left with no option but to go on the run. Accompanied by his gang (among them Orlando Bloom) he robs banks to survive and also to gather the money to free his family from prison. There is some considerable romanticizing of the story and the man himself, due in part to Ledger's affable Robin Hood-esque working-class hero portrayal. Bloom is wide-eyed and daring as Kelly's main man, and Naomi Watts as his married mistress has the thankless task of breaking up some great action sequences to play the unnecessary love interest. Originally filmed as a Mick Jagger vehicle
in 1970. --Kristen Bowditch