TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘True Story of the Kelly Gang’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Film Festivals, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF 2019 by - September 13, 2019
TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘True Story of the Kelly Gang’

If you’re advertising the sizzle, you better be delivering steak…

True Story of the Kelly Gang focuses far too much on style in a fictionalized retelling of this tale that focuses on set pieces then story.

He only lived until he was 25 years young, but the story of Outlaw Ned Kelly was enough to become one of legend much like that of Jesse James or Robin Hood.  An Irish immigrant growing up in the dustbowl of the outback both he and his family would frequently push against the outback justice of the local magistrates to the point that it would all culminate in an epically violent showdown.

It’s hard to fault the feel and look of it all as director Justin Kurzel plays it like a dirty graphic novelization of this epic story as it quickly bounces from action to a wide array of different characters.

Problem is it also feels rushed, the first half is quite solid as we track young Ned Kelly (played by Orlando Schwerdt) actually carries the film better when he’s surrounded by the likes of Russell Crowe, Essie Davis and Charlie Hunnam to lead him along.  However  when it grows to show us George Mackay as grown-up Ned dueling with his family and new magistrate Nicholas Hoult, we lose interest pretty darn fast.

Ultimately, True Story of the Kelly Gang is just a trashy and violent retelling of this story and that’s fine, but you can’t help but feel like you’re left wanting more.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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