Watch the legend of ben hall


"The Legend of Ben Hall," a Western phối in New South Wales, follows the final exploits of one of the most wanted men in 1860s Australia.

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Whatever extraordinary qualities made the outlaw Ben Hall a legend, they’re nowhere khổng lồ be found in Matthew Holmes’ overlong feature. The writer-director’s attention to period detail and the historical record is for naught in his biographical drama of one of Australia’s most notorious “bushrangers” — the 19th-century highwaymen who plundered their way across the British colony.

The Legend of Ben Hall follows the daring thief’s last months, during the 1860s gold-rush era in New South Wales. With a huge price on his head, Hall (Jack Martin, blankly dogged và stoic) sets out to lớn raise — i.e., steal — enough money khổng lồ leave the country và start over in the United States. Targeting cash-rich mail coaches & highway travelers, he gets busy with a former associate, the trigger-happy Jack Gilbert (a distractingly over-the-top turn by Jamie Coffa), & a green but eager 18-year-old, John Dunn (William Lee).

The Bottom LineShapeless & plodding.

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RELEASE DATE Dec 16, 2016

What unfolds is a monotonous succession of shoot-outs against the relentless swell of the score, climaxing in a slo-mo sequence of literal overkill. Holmes fashions scenes involving the police inspectors and trackers on Hall’s trail, as well as treacherous friends, devoted lovers and variously enrapt and horrified townspeople. But none of these interactions, nor the profusion of tight close-ups of Martin, bring Hall into focus as a full-blooded character.

The bushranger’s determination to reconnect with his young son (Zane Ciarma), who’s being raised by his ex-wife (Joanne Dobbin) and the drunkard (Nick Barry) she’s taken up with, becomes his sole distinguishing characteristic, but even this deeply personal motivating factor is just another piece in the story’s vague, protracted trajectory. Holmes’ unfocused screenplay makes clear that his subject was an honorable thief (Hall never took a life), but the writer-director never makes any of it matter.

Fidelity to lớn the historical facts & chronology are fine, but not at the expense of dramatic compression & tension. Other than the sense of injustice in the movie’s final moments, there’s no purpose to lớn this Legend, no defining concept và especially no driving energy.

Holmes, who has a background in stop-motion animation, uses practical as well as digital effects, và there’s a lived-in unique to the movie’s sets và locations. But against its frontier landscape, this very long haul of a drama abandons the forest for the trees.