True History of The Kelly Gang

“Know that I shall tell no lie, let me burn in hell should I speak false”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Could I be in a gang? Easy, I’m already a part of both the Bloods and the Crips so if there are any more invitations out there I’ll be happen to join.

True History of The Kelly Gang, directed by Justin Kurzel, is the not so true story of, you guessed it, the Kelly Gang. Set in 1870’s, Ned Kelly (George MacKay) is an Australian Bushranger who flees from the corrupt authorities with help from the rest of the Kelly Gang.

This film is based on a novel by Peter Carey. I haven’t read the novel and I’m glad I haven’t because most of the bad reviews are from die hard fans of the book who don’t like the fact that Ned Kelly is blonde, So I’m glad I’m not one of those people. So instead of thinking its a bad film based on a good book, I just think its an alright film.

This is one of those films where I fall for it straight away because it has a unique style that I love, backed up by great music. As the run time goes on I slowly stop looking at its style and more at its substance and realise that the substance is good but not great. I have no problem with the acting, everyone is great. I have no problem with the cinematography and music, they’re both great too. I think its down to pacing and writing where I started drifting.

It was a film where things happened and I enjoyed what was happening, the happenings were good but I don’t know if it was just me but it seemed like the transition between events fell a bit flat. I didn’t find myself caring for any of the characters really so I wasn’t really invested with what was happening to them but with the nice music it sort of made up for it.

This film had a great cast, George MacKay, Essie Davis, Nicholas Hoult, Russell Crowe, Charlie Hunnam, and more, so the cast was there but they didn’t stop me from checking my phone every now and then because the writing was a bit meh. It just didn’t grab me and the end felt very unjustified and rushed but I didn’t really mind because I lost my investment halfway. I was preparing myself for a lawless gang who rip shreds through heads and eat bones or something, not that gruesome but a lawless gang. Considering its about a gang, you get about 30 minutes of gang, even then they’re not really a gang but more just a bunch of people trying not to get killed.

Overall the experience fell flat pretty quick. It has lovely cinematography with a great cast but it goes to show that at the end of the day, its down to the writing, and when the writing includes characters you don’t connect with an events that don’t feel justified then you get the Kelly Gang… Its okay.

6 Eye of Embers out of 10

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