True History Of The Kelly Gang is a unique interpretation of the story of Ned Kelly, infamous bushranger of the 1800s.
Featuring a stellar lineup of award-winning Australian and international stars, including Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis, Claudia Karvan and Charlie Hunnam, the acting is faultless. Unfortunately, it’s the plot and dialogue that is the film’s downfall.
Starting on fairly safe ground with Ned Kelly’s childhood, it descends into a dreamlike, hallucinatory sequence later, which fails to grab the audience’s attention and hold it. Focus on the cross-dressing element of the Kelly Gang (which was not actually based on known facts) diverts attention from what’s really going on.
Essie Davis is particularly good as Ned Kelly’s mother – an incredibly hard woman with a vulnerable centre, worn down by life. Nicholas Hoult is also very believable, bringing a sensuous playfulness but also madness to the role of Constable Fitzpatrick.
True History Of The Kelly Gang plays well as an art piece. As a mainstream release however, it fails to hit the mark.
Reviewed by Lisa Seltzer