Ned Kelly 2004 film review | Book Addicts

Ned Kelly (2004 film)

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Ned Kelly is a 2004 Australian film about the Australian folk hero.

5 out of 10 stars.  If you known nothing about Ned Kelly, this is somewhat interesting, but some of the characters were quite despicable, like his friend who was clearly a pedophile.

In 1871 Victoria, Australia, the Victorian police are the real criminals.  They are rapists, horse thieves, and murderers.  Then they come across Ned Kelly returning his friend’s horse who unbeknownst to Kelly was stolen.  The friend who stole the horse gets a few months in prison, but Kelly, who was completely innocent, gets three years because he fought back against the policeman who beat him.

When Ned is released, one of the Victorian police who has a crush on Ned’s sister Kate, comes and tries raping her with the entire family present.  The police are so well known for illegal imprisonment, the Kelly family beats him up then lets him go.  He goes to town and makes up a lie to hurt the family and leave them vulnerable.  He claims Ned tried killing him.  Ned wasn’t even there.  Ned’s alibi is a married woman who he’s sleeping with.  She won’t come forward which leaves him in serious trouble.  The police arrest his elderly mother.  That’s the point where Ned, his brother, and his friends start fighting back.  Within 24 hours, he’s killed three cops who have stolen property from the poorest people, raped their children, and arrested their moms for crimes they never committed.  Parliament is recalled to pass the Felons Apprehension Act which means anyone can shoot them.  That was a huge mistake, but during Britain’s occupation of other countries, they made mistakes daily.

Left with no sense of justice, the foursome rob the bank and burn the mortgages so there’s no lien against anyone’s homes.  The police respond by arresting one hundred of Ned’s Irish neighbors.    They also sentence his mother to three years hard labor.  Ned sends a letter to the Prime Minister.  The police retaliate by burning the forest and several homesteads to the ground.  They also poison the water causing all the animals in the area to die most painfully.  (It’s heartwrenching.)

Eventually, the cops turn Ned’s friend Aaron who’s been sleeping with a 13 year old girl whom he’s gotten pregnant.  Fortunately, one of their friends warns Ned about Aaron Sherritt, so they use him to set a trap and kill him.  Meanwhile the Prime Minister sends more troops, an additional 100 policemen.  So Ned’s group joins a traveling circus and sets another trap, but one of the men with the circus, a Brit, sneaks out and warns the police who surround the building and shoot at women and children.  Who saves them?  Ned and his friends.  They don makeshift armor and go out shooting, giving the women and children (and men) a chance to escape through the back.  Joe Byrne, Steve Hart, Dan Kelly, and Ned Kelly are the heroes here.

Joe, Steve, and Dan die.  Ned, although he’s shot more than a dozen times, lives only to be hanged.  He was only 25 years old.

5 out of 10 stars.  A well told story of a wronged man who fought back and inspired millions.  But having a pedophile friend knocked him down quite a bit in my estimation.


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