8:00 PM, 23rd August, 2003
Ned Kelly tells the story of the last 10 years of Ned's life, based on the novel Our Sunshine by Robert Drewe. At 16, Ned (Ledger) is imprisoned after being falsely accused of stealing a horse. After Ned is released he attempts to go straight, earning money in prizefights and as a horse farm hand. However, it's all turned upside-down late one evening when a drunken police officer (Kiri Paramore - who, incidentally, used to live at Burton and Garran Hall) interrupts the Kelly homestead and makes unwanted advances toward Ned's sister Kate. The incident soon escalates into gunfire. The event forces Ned to run and the Kelly Gang is formed, the gang being made up of Ned's brother Dan (Kinlan), Joe Byrne (Bloom) and Steve Hart (Barantini).
Most of us have a good idea of how the movie is going to end, but that doesn't stop the film from keeping you engaged throughout. The overall look of the film is amazing, recreating a time in Australia mostly accounted for in books. Without a doubt, this is a great film which doubles as a brilliant two hour history lesson, even if a bit of poetic licence has been utilised.
10:00 PM, 23rd August, 2003
All you really need to know about this movie is that it's a French period movie featuring a sort-of werewolf and a kung-fu-fighting Iroquois. Now you either know you have to see it, or are not the sort of person we really care about anyway, and if so you should carry on to the next review
Right then, where were we? Fronsac (Le Bihan) is despatched to rural France in 1764, to investigate a beast - reputed to be a demon - making short work of the local peasantry. His offsider Mani (Dacasos) is the aforementioned Iroquois Bruce Lee
Throw in chateaus, brothels, conspiracies, gloomy countryside, slow-motion photography, drugged visions, the occult and even incest, and you have a recipe for a rattling yarn that works so hard to entertain that it seems churlish to carp at any flaws. The cinematography also comes in for favourable mention by many reviewers, although since I saw it at the Alliance Francaise on a screen about the size of a bathmat, from what looked like a print on video, I can't quite say
I think Roger Ebert nails it best: "an explosion at the genre factory". It's a bit long though