The movie “Ned Kelly”
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The movie “Ned Kelly” is telling the audience about Australian history and that Australia is not a perfect country, but struggles with criminals as well. It also conveys racism, not against blacks, but against the Irish. This is now dispelled as Ned Kelly is known as the ‘Australian hero’, not the ‘Irish Migrant of Australia hero’. The Kelly family were always the target of the soldiers’ fun. Friendship is portrayed as being vital, as the gang of outlaws would not have been able to achieve what they did if their bonds were not as strong. A barrier between classes was also evident in the movie, which is applicable to those times and even in modern times.
The movie presents Ned Kelly as a hero more than being a murderous villain. For once, the audience believes that the police are the villains and hope that Ned Kelly can outrun them subsequently escaping to safety. Towards the end of the film during the final shoot-out, Kelly is especially viewed as a hero when he staggers out of the pub in his infamous armour and leaves himself open to the police’s gunfire. He is seen fighting to his death and killing many men in the meantime. The audience is left feeling as though Ned Kelly is a hero.
Ned Kelly is good history, as his story is different to other heroes such as Burke and Wills. Kelly was dangerous, bold and rebellious, which in a way is how Australians would want to see themselves if compared to a national hero. Even though many people suffered and died at the hands of Kelly, it was his persistence against all the odds. Most did not hold faith in Kelly’s ability to succeed, but he did succeed by dying with honour.
I was not aware of the finer details of Ned Kelly, so the movie left me with a different opinion of him than I felt prior to watching the film. Even though I knew that Kelly was seen as a hero, I felt that he was perhaps overrated. I am most certain that the movie played up the heroic view and perhaps downplayed and/or justified Kelly’s reasons for his wrongdoing. Ned Kelly is a hero as he defied all odds and fought for his rights.
The importance of friendship lasting throughout the tough times was a theme in “Ned Kelly”. This theme was conveyed with Kelly’s gang and how they did not leave each other. A factor in this could have been the finding out of what happened to someone if they were not loyal to Ned. Kelly showed no leniency as he could not afford for the others to surrender and desert him. Throughout the movie, the viewers are shown the friendship in all its forms – the good times, the tough times and what happens due to a lack of communication. Due to a lack of communication, even though it was relatively impossible, the gang members died or committed suicide as they could not front the future without each other.
There was a hint of the theme that the villains will never achieve success, but the heroes will be triumphant in “Ned Kelly”. The actual villains, viewed in the nature of rebelling against society’s rules, were Ned Kelly and his gang. This theme was most evident in the ending, even though Kelly fought intrepidly against greater numbers than were on his side. He and his gang had eluded the authorities for longer than anyone would expect, while audaciously robbing banks and gaining support from the public as well. The movie was in favour of Ned Kelly all the way through, but had to concede defeat in the end of the film.
Female characters are viewed in an outdated way in the movie “Ned Kelly”. The only exception to the sexist view is, of course, Ned Kelly as he respects and demands respect for women, especially family members. The females are portrayed as conventional – cooking, cleaning, having a family and pleasuring the man. The females do dominate when it comes to pleasing the male, but sometimes the women has to succumb to a man’s desires even when she does not want to, as he can hurt her in some way.
The gang members’ attractiveness to women is quite accurate, as women like a man who is wild, rebellious, dangerous and most importantly, handsome. Women need variety, and as observed from the movie, there was a lack of that – just the same men who all wanted the same thing. Women saw Ned Kelly and his gang offering peril in exchange for the kind of gratification only a woman can give. Women are notorious for their love of a dangerous and rebellious man, as long as he is attractive.
The film promotes Ned Kelly largely as an Australian hero. This is evident in that the movie was done in Kelly’s point of view, so that the audience favours him, not in the authorities’ point of view, because then he would not be observed as a hero but a villain. The director wisely chose a favourite Australian actor to play Ned Kelly, which also has input to which side the viewers will take. Ned Kelly is also seen as a hero because he is seemingly only standing up against corrupt and biased leadership to prove to the people that it is possible to break free of authority and live in harmony as he did with his family and probably wished he had that option all his life.
There were a few aspects of the real Ned Kelly that were shown in the movie. The main aspect, the one that he is most famous for, is the distinctive suit of armour he wore. The actors were made fibreglass imitations, which they did not wear, but suits of steel, which were four millimetres thick and quite heavy. He also owned a sash, which he obtained as a reward when he was a boy for saving a child from drowning. Another aspect was the long, somewhat extensively expressive letter, which he dictated to Joe concerning all the suffering he felt had been inflicted on him as an outlaw and as a man.
The only challenging factor of the movie “Ned Kelly” is that the film is extremely biased. The authorities must have had some basis for the way they thought and acted the way they did. Even though they were racist against the Irish, it seems to be unfair and unjustifiable to attack without reason – big or little.
In order to present an “anti-legend” movie, there must be some basis on which to create such a movie. The current “Ned Kelly”, having him portrayed as a hero must have weak areas of heroism or even the way that the story was told. There were a few aspects that could be interpreted into Ned being an anti-hero. When Ned was a young man, he attacked a Chinese person, which would imply that Ned was racist. This view is ironic as Ned was also being discriminated against because of his race. No audience would like their view of a hero being marred with such a controversial aspect as racism. Ned also stole cattle when he was a lad, which implies that our hero is a thief. His father was shipped out from Ireland to Australia as a convict. Perhaps is stealing is genetic – who and what one’s father is, is important for the viewers to determine one’s credibility. Ned’s whole family was renowned for stealing, and sources (see website one) state that “Going bush to avoid prosecution was a common practice.” This is not the type of ‘hero’ Australia should be aspiring to.
Other examples of “anti-legend element” include robbing banks, mass murder of those in authority and other illegal or immoral practises that Ned Kelly is said to be guilty of. These examples ought not to be praised and admired as children should not aspire to be criminals running from the law. A movie proclaiming and devoted to the much-disputed “anti-hero” image should be produced in order to make Australians aware of what a ‘hero’ Ned Kelly is and how he was actually a hardened criminal who was clever enough to know how to gain sympathy from those who are more gullible than others. A Ned Kelly sporting all these negative and downplayed characteristics would inevitably spark a fire of controversy amongst Australians. Ned Kelly is seen as a national icon, even featuring in the Sydney Olympics ceremonies in 2000, so the people of Australia seem to rather be ignorant of the truth than be aware of the requirements of what the people view as a hero.
The following websites are where information was received for (4) (iii).
The following websites were where information was obtained for (5).