Saturday, 1 June 2013

Animal Kingdom (2010)

Nothing like the Lion King, Animal Kingdom is a melancholy Australian crime film with some very unwholesome characters doing some very nasty things.  There is something slightly Goodfellas about it; the film is narrated through the main character “J” (James Frecheville) who becomes involved with his family’s criminal activities, and when he starts interacting with Sergeant Leckie (Guy Pearce) you start to think it end the same way as Henry’s story did.  However, J hasn’t wanted to be a gangster as far back as he can remember, he just gets involved because it’s his family, and the final acts of the film are surprising and shocking.

All the members of the Cody family, each with their own personalities, are portrayed by a very accomplished cast, though none of them are very familiar to me.  Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton, Ben Mendelsohn, and Jackie Weaver are all really great and really breathe life into the Codys.

OK, so I started writing this review 2 weeks ago and I really can’t remember anything else I was going to say.  I will therefore conclude quickly by saying that Animal Kingdom isn’t your usual gangster movie, but with a great script, cast and a very accomplished debut performance from James Frecheville, director David Michôd has made a very smart film that may well get overlooked by many because of its name.