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Film / The Outlaw Michael Howe

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The Outlaw Michael Howe is a 2013 Australian Western directed by Brendan Cowell.

Damon Herriman portrays a young bushranger who leads a rebellion against the British during the 1820s. Opposing him are Magistrate Knopwood (Matt Day), Governor Davey (Darren Gilshenan), and the British military.

The movie contains examples of following tropes:

  • Big Bad: Peter Septon, corrupt governor of Van Diemen's Land.
  • Cool Guns: Howe's flintlock pistol.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: At first the head of the operation to bring Michael down is Lieutenant Governor Tom Davey, but he's portrayed as a drunken lout from the beginning and his boss Peter Septon fires him and takes over in the last third of the film.
  • Downer Ending: Howe is sold out by the last holdout in his gang and beaten to death by bounty hunters.
  • The Empire: Britain was at the height of its empire days when the film is set.
  • Expy: Herriman's characterisation of Howe was inspired by the earlier Ned Kelly movie, and by Clint Eastwood's portrayal of The Outlaw Josey Wales.
  • The Hero Dies: Howe is beaten to death by the British troops, and his head taken as a trophy.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: In an early scene, the leg of a convict is amputated by a Frontier Doctor making a Life-or-Limb Decision.
  • Protagonist Title: The Outlaw Michael Howe.
  • Regency England: Played with. Although the wealthy officials live in luxury, the convicts are treated like slaves.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Howe is portrayed as the idealistic underdog, and the British are brutal colonialist oppressors.
  • Role Called: The Outlaw Michael Howe.
  • Wardens Are Evil: As is standard in Aussie Westerns, the bored prison guards abuse and brutalise the convicts.
  • The Western: Howe and his bandits are similar to Mexico's Zapatistas, and the British authorities represent the corrupt federal government.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Howe and his original gang members were all imprisoned at Sarah Island.

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IMDB entry: