‘I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false.’
So opens Ned Kelly’s personal journal, addressed to his future daughter. The irony of this heartfelt promise, of course, is that Kelly never kept a journal. Even his unborn child and her mother are inventions of Peter Carey, author of the much-acclaimed True History of the Kelly Gang (2000). The ‘truth’ in the title of his work, and now in the new adaptation directed by Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel – Snowtown (2011), Macbeth (2015) – is a deliberate provocation. It dares the reader (or in this case, the viewer) to take umbrage with any of the fanciful details contained therein.