Animal Kingdom (15)

Film

Gangster films

i8-animal_5.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Feb 22 2011

This is a cocky, eye-grabbing debut from Australian writer and director David Michôd. He brings a big dose of Scorsese to Melbourne in telling of a fictional crime family, the Codys, who look like a regular bunch of grown-up brothers living with their mother but who pursue evil with the same vigour with which one of them hoovers up coke. Moreover, their mum, Janine (Jacki Weaver – channelling Grace Zabriskie), might even be the most evil of the lot. Our entry to their lives is via these bruisers’ quiet, 17-year-old nephew Josh (James Frecheville), who moves in with them when his own mum dies of an overdose. Soon, Josh is caught between family and the law after his uncles avenge the death of a pal (Joel Edgerton) by killing two police officers.

The film has the dread air of a funeral march witnessed through a heroin fug, albeit a stylish one, with slo-mo camera movements, ample music and an electronic score. The story mirrors many tales of gangsters and individuals caught up in the claustrophobia of crime, but Michôd makes it feel fresh and thoughtful. The sense of grotesque, especially with Janine, is distinctive, and he avoids the trap of making characters too lucid (sample dialogue: ‘Do you love me?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because you’re nice.’). It’s not unique, but as a distillation of a well-worn genre, it’s admirable.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Feb 25, 2011

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|33
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Mark

Enthralling, engrossing and chilling with an ending that keeps you guessing all the way. The 3 star review is very, very harsh.

KT

I now always read the reviews posted by timeout readers t as they are far more reliable. ent you type in this box will appear on the site

KT

I now always read the reviews posted by timeout readers t as they are far more reliable. ent you type in this box will appear on the site

nickle

I dont usually comment on these sites, but I saw this film yesterday then read the reveiw. This is far superior to most in the genre. Tense, believable and well crafted. It is oddly fast moving and slow at the same time. Certainly deserves four stars and probably five. Best film I have seen so far this year.

nickle

I dont usually comment on these sites, but I saw this film yesterday then read the reveiw. This is far superior to most in the genre. Tense, believable and well crafted. It is oddly fast moving and slow at the same time. Certainly deserves four stars and probably five. Best film I have seen so far this year.

HollandFilmFan

Most of the same type of movies made by Hollywood all the time can't compare with this very interesting and suspenseful Australian film. Quite remarkable how the Australian film industry comes up with this kind of surprising and thrilling film every once in a while!

Phil Ince

I thought it had a few too many strands quite to do them all justice and, at the time, I got a little lost in the final convolutions. Not what I was expecting and quite gripping at times.

Kez

Fabulous. Great performances, great writing, really interesting examination of what a criminal life does to people.

Kez

Fabulous. Great performances, great writing, really interesting examination of what a criminal life does to people.

Beth

A phenomenal first feature from a clearly very talented director and some really outstanding performances. The suspense nearly killed me, but oddly, I found it actually slower than Archipelago, which I'd seen the day before and is hardly an action flick or thriller.

BDKA

This won't be everybody's cup of tea, I'm certain some will find the relentlessly portentous atmosphere & stylised elements overbearing & annoying, the central performance flat, the score bland... but I certainly didn't. Conversely I thought it was completely gripping, the performances utterly convincing, the cinematography striking, and ultimately the film in general impressive, memorable & enjoyable. Thoroughly recommended.

BDKA

This won't be everybody's cup of tea, I'm certain some will find the relentlessly portentous atmosphere & stylised elements overbearing & annoying, the central performance flat, the score bland... but I certainly didn't. Conversely I thought it was completely gripping, the performances utterly convincing, the cinematography striking, and ultimately the film in general impressive, memorable & enjoyable. Thoroughly recommended.

Heather

I too was surprised by the three stars. This is a fabulous movie and to liken it to the violence porn Scorsese churns out is wrong headed. The almost unbearable tension that leads up to the final scene is amazing. The script, acting, editing is superb. And the characters are all very believable. These people aren't freaks, rather they are all too believable and haven't been glorified as in most US crime thrillers or mafia films. Some reviewers here also seem to forget that the central character, J, is very young and has been thrown into a situation he has previously been protected from. Hence his vacant look. He's as confused and as scared as the rest of his family, that's the whole point.

Heather

I too was surprised by the three stars. This is a fabulous movie and to liken it to the violence porn Scorsese churns out is wrong headed. The almost unbearable tension that leads up to the final scene is amazing. The script, acting, editing is superb. And the characters are all very believable. These people aren't freaks, rather they are all too believable and haven't been glorified as in most US crime thrillers or mafia films. Some reviewers here also seem to forget that the central character, J, is very young and has been thrown into a situation he has previously been protected from. Hence his vacant look. He's as confused and as scared as the rest of his family, that's the whole point.

Dave

Brilliant Movie . Thought a minimum of 4 stars and judging by the review I don't know why he only gave 3 when his write up suggests more.I see the average is 4 stars after 20 reviews.

Dave

Brilliant Movie . Thought a minimum of 4 stars and judging by the review I don't know why he only gave 3 when his write up suggests more.I see the average is 4 stars after 20 reviews.

Mike

A clever story. Well scripted, and acted. In particular I liked the 'incidental music', which at times take the places of dialogue, and leaves you to work out for yourself what's happening. If you like films that explain every last detail, this isn't for you - this movie leaves character motivation to your imagination, but not so much you can't figure out what'll happen next. The photography was good and, like I say, the incidental music. Not quite Oscar nomination stuff, but highly recommended nonetheless. 3 stars.

Sutton

After film of the week in the Observer and good reviews in the Guardian, I was disappointed by this film. It's an average film, showing lowlife crime in Oz. Surprised by the number of reviewers on here singing it's virtues...a few Australians perhaps? I agree, Guy deserved better!

critique

I`m with Dave Calhoun and, to a slightly lesser degree, ARCHGATE on this one. An unremittingly depressing account of Australian lowlifes, it sustains its funereal mood adequately but I defy anybody to care less what happens to the vile family and the vacant-looking Josh.

Justin Berkovi

TIMEOUT take note - this reviewer should be sacked. This is the most incredibly lazy and poor review I have ever seen. Animal Kingdom is a brilliant and furiously emotive piece of film making and I would suggest a worthy Oscar contender. It lends itself much more to the film making of Michael Mann than Scorsese with beautiful use of mood, tone and music to set the backdrop of this wonderful film. There is also one thing incredible about this film - it doesn't resort to a heist scene even though it's all about bank robbers, a stroke of absolute genius. I'd give this 6/5 - GO SEE IT!

Justin Berkovi

TIMEOUT take note - this reviewer should be sacked. This is the most incredibly lazy and poor review I have ever seen. Animal Kingdom is a brilliant and furiously emotive piece of film making and I would suggest a worthy Oscar contender. It lends itself much more to the film making of Michael Mann than Scorsese with beautiful use of mood, tone and music to set the backdrop of this wonderful film. There is also one thing incredible about this film - it doesn't resort to a heist scene even though it's all about bank robbers, a stroke of absolute genius. I'd give this 6/5 - GO SEE IT!

craigganmore

Dave Calhoun - what are you smoking and can I have some? Do you actually like films? Do you have any emotions to be stirred within that soul of yours or has Tom Huddlestone stolen it and sold it to the makers of the pile of crap that is Drive Angry? If any of the Time Out readers want to see a film that makes them feel something go and see this film. Dave Calhoun, start looking for another job.

craigganmore

Dave Calhoun - what are you smoking and can I have some? Do you actually like films? Do you have any emotions to be stirred within that soul of yours or has Tom Huddlestone stolen it and sold it to the makers of the pile of crap that is Drive Angry? If any of the Time Out readers want to see a film that makes them feel something go and see this film. Dave Calhoun, start looking for another job.

Mikey Jack

Just seen it, it'll have you gripped from the opening credits. I've never given a film five stars. I have now.

Mikey Jack

Just seen it, it'll have you gripped from the opening credits. I've never given a film five stars. I have now.

ARCHGATE

Major disappointment. The problem is this family coming across as freaks rather than criminal. Even a Jimmy Cliff song cannot save it. I've seen better quality watching The Sweeney replays on ITV4. Guy Pearce deserved a better film.

Alice

Gee Dave, get it right! For a start, this is based on real-life happenings; next, it is worth way more than 3 stars! I lpved this film and was shocked by your lukewarm review. This is an amazing film - highly recommended.

Alice

Gee Dave, get it right! For a start, this is based on real-life happenings; next, it is worth way more than 3 stars! I lpved this film and was shocked by your lukewarm review. This is an amazing film - highly recommended.

guy

This is an excellent crime film. A first-time writer and director who is very restrained in his directing, doesn't show off and lets his actors do their thing. We watch a young naive young man get entangled with his aunty's criminal family and descend into madness all around him. The film is based around a time when Melbourne's Armed Robbery Squad were actually taking criminals out rather than arresting them. From the wonderful opening scene this movie is just a delight to watch. If you enjoy intelligent crime movies with a difference this is a must see, and spread the word. This is a low budget Oz movie so needs all the support it truly deserves.

guy

This is an excellent crime film. A first-time writer and director who is very restrained in his directing, doesn't show off and lets his actors do their thing. We watch a young naive young man get entangled with his aunty's criminal family and descend into madness all around him. The film is based around a time when Melbourne's Armed Robbery Squad were actually taking criminals out rather than arresting them. From the wonderful opening scene this movie is just a delight to watch. If you enjoy intelligent crime movies with a difference this is a must see, and spread the word. This is a low budget Oz movie so needs all the support it truly deserves.