Ned was little more than a boy when he was wrongfully imprisoned for horse-thieving. Released, he finds it's impossible 'for an Irishman in Queen Victoria's colony to walk the straight and narrow'. Loutish English coppers force the issue, and soon Ned (Ledger), brother Dan (Kinlan), and muckers Steve and Joe (Barantini and Bloom) are setting Superintendent Hare (Rush) a merry dance across the outback, the most wanted men in all Australia. This version of the legendary tale is stuck uneasily between romantic myth-making and historical accountability. It's shot in muddy equatorial browns, and cutaways to local flora and fauna mark Ned as being at one with nature. But a quality conspicuously absent from Ledger's self-consciously heroic performance is any sense of wildness. He makes Ned a decent but ultimately rather dull underdog. Yhe shoot-outs are efficiently handled, but this feels terribly overfamiliar. (From Robert Drewe's novel Our Sunshine.) TCh.