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Animal Kingdom

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
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.
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 25 February 2011

Cast and crew

  • Director:David Michôd
  • Screenwriter:David Michôd
  • Cast:
    • James Frecheville
    • Ben Mendelsohn
    • Joel Edgerton
    • Jacki Weaver
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