True History of the Kelly Gang (2019) Review

The story of Ned Kelly an Australian outlaw who was forced to hide from the authorities with his gang in the 1870s. Based on Peter Carey’s novel of the same name.


The True History of the Kelly Gang is done in quite a different manner to that we have seen before. Giving us an insight into a younger Ned and how his life really started hating the police and after the death of his father being taken away by Harry Power to help him become a man. This must have been around the first half hour of the film and the performance from Orlando Schwerdt is absolutely fantastic. A very impressive part from the young actor that was great to watch, in some tough scenes.

The film is rather brutal at times and as he ages and takes those steps to truly becoming an outlaw with Sgt O’Neil being directly involved. We then get Constable Fitzpatrick who is rather strange in the sense of the way he polices and attempts to be friends with him. It is a difficult film as it is rather brutal throughout which I guess is expected given he subject manner.

My knowledge of Ned Kelly probably only stems from the 2003 film with Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom even though I have not watched it for many years now. I don’t really think this film adds anything to knowing about the outlaw, just confirming that his life was pretty horrendous growing up and that is how he easily slipped into a life of crime. His mother is not put across as very caring at all and I found her rather horrible and uncaring towards not only Ned but her other children as well.

It is a very dark film at times and that was probably something I enjoyed the most about it. But it was just lacking a real spark for me to be classed as a very good film. Still positives though and a slightly different way to tell the story.

The performances were probably the best part of the film with a rather impressive cast. Having already mentioned Orlando Schwerdt as the young Ned Kelly. We then get George MacKay as the older Ned Kelly, another fantastic performance and something else to really push MacKay forward with his good filmography of many different roles. We then get Charlie Hunnam and Russell Crowe being key characters within the first part of the film and they both were a joy to watch as very different characters. As we move to the second stage Nicholas Hoult is then added in and another fine performance. Like MacKay he is another actor who is incredibly impressive with the varying roles that he takes on.

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