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True History of The Kelly Gang

True History of the Kelly Gang declares from the get go that it is not true. And yet, in some ways, it is. The events of Ned Kelly’s life have been part of cinema for nearly as long as the medium, with multiple representations, interpretations and mediations. Justin Kurzel’s film,  with a screenplay by Shaun Grant based on the novel by Peter Carey, is another of these, and not to be taken as an ‘accurate documentation’ of Ned Kelly (George McKay). Instead, it is a jagged and striking drama that tells uncomfortable truths about masculine identity, social immobility and violent oppression. Kurzel’s fragmented visual style blends the expansive and scorched Australian outback with claustrophobic interiors, where the Kelly family and others that Ned encounters, both friend and foe. Ned’s journey to outlaw legend is punctuated with effectively shocking violence as well as dark humour, resulting in a film that holds the viewer’s attention with a cruel and unflinching grip. 

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