Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

(2010)

Classic crime-drama about a violent Melbourne family imploding in the iron grip of its pint-sized matriarch. Winner of Grand Jury Prize winner (World Cinema, Drama) at Sundance Film Festival 2010.... More

"Armed robber Pope Cody (Ben Mendelsohn) is in hiding, on the run from a gang of renegade detectives who want him dead. His business partner and best friend, Barry ‘Baz’ Brown (Joel Endgerton), wants out of the game, recognising that their days of old-school banditry are all but over. Pope’s younger brother, the speed-addicted and volatile Craig Cody (Sullivan Stapleton), is making a fortune in the illicit substances trade – the true cash cow of the modern criminal fraternity. Into this criminal world arrives their nephew, Joshua ‘J’ Cody (James Frecheville). Following the death of his mother, J finds himself living with his hitherto estranged family, under the watchful eye of his doting grandmother, Smurf (Jacki Weaver), mother to the Cody boys. J quickly comes to believe that he is a player but, as he soon discovers, this world is far more menacing than he could ever imagine..." (Official Synopsis)Hide

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Flicks Review

As the opening credits of Animal Kingdom play, sombre music sets the scene for a Greek tragedy of betrayal and retribution. David Michod’s debut feature is a gripping crime-drama, showcasing the best work Australian filmmaking talent has to offer and finding new riches to mine in a genre well trodden across the ditch.

Melbourne crime stories are nothing new, but by choosing to focus on the ‘who’, rather than the ‘what’, or the ‘why’, Michod takes a fresh approach. Everything revolves around this family of dysfunctional characters, each one varying in their loyalty to a life of crime and thus contributing to a simmering tension between themselves. Newbie James Frecheville is a terrifically blank, open-mouthed slate, proving hard to peg, not just for the audience, but for his increasingly suspicious extended family as well.

Michod, together with cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, use the screen as a large canvas to replicate the feel of a hot, languid, Melbourne summer. The pace is relaxed, but the storyline slowly winds tighter and tighter, ratcheting up the levels of tension to Hitchcockian levels. His filmic references aren’t hard to spot – Scorsese’s bold visual poetry and juxtapositions of popular music with moments of high drama are evident.

Such comparisons for an new name present Michod with a challenge for a follow-up, but his assured debut has earned them. This is a cracking story with fascinating characters, an engrossing tale of a family’s fall.


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 10 ratings, 9 reviews
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BY munchkin superstar

Great aussie crime drama brilliant acting well told and sickening story at times but if you loved the underbelly tv series then you will most likely love this


A superbly acted slow-building thriller that dispenses with the melodramatic gangster stereotype and delivers a harrowing and ominous portrait of the underbelly of human nature. Remarkable performances all round. An epic tragedy that has delivered one of the best films of the past twelve months.


BY Weds_Loafers superstar

A riveting look at the inner workings of a Melbourne crime family in freefall as they battle with the local cops. The story follows the introduction of a 17-year-old relative into the family following the death of his mother through a heroin overdose. Bloody - yes, but much more focused on the interactions within the family than the blood and gore. 3.5 stars.


riveting cinema.


This movie was not great.
It was more suited to watching at home on TV than the cinema. Sorry but I felt it just really lacked something.


Showing 5 of 9 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

97% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Faultlessly acted by top Australian talent, including Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom marries heightened emotionality with cool contemporary style. Full Review

  • The film's depiction of the raw fear lurking below the brothers' braggadocio is the most pronounced emotion in a movie whose focus on the personalities of its criminals suggests an Australian answer to "Goodfellas," minus the wise-guy humor. Full Review

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