Animal Kingdom: Movie Review
Cast: James Frecheville, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy
Director: David Michod
One of the hits from the 2010 New Zealand International Film Festival, Animal
Kingdom duly deserves its wider release.
An Aussie crime thriller Animal Kingdom by writer director David Michod, this
is the Melbourne set story about a crime family falling apart amid police
scrutiny - and how a teenager previously estranged from the underworld becomes
It opens with Josh (newcomer James Frecheville) discovering his mum's heroin
overdose - and calmly watching an episode of Deal Or No Deal as it all goes
With no family to turn to, he's taken into the bosom of the Cody family - a
local crime gang who're in their twilight of their career thanks to continual
When one of the Cody family is brutally dispatched by the cops, tensions
escalate - and soon Josh is in deeper than he expected - and with Guy Pearce's
Detective Leckie using him as leverage to try and bring down the syndicate, Josh
soon realizes he has to take a side - and that the wrong one could cost him his
Animal Kingdom is a tense enthralling affair which hooks you in when you
least expect it.
Thanks to the wonderfully layered performance of newcomer James
Frecheville,you're caught in the grip of this slick slow burning thriller as
you're never quite sure when it's going to explode into violence; there's little
of that throughout but thanks to welcome directorial restraint, when it does
With a moody ominous OST, some scenes crackle with uncertainty as you wait
for the inevitable to hit. Ben Mendelsohn deserves mention as the volatile uncle
Pope whose actions drive so much of the film.
But the real star of this film is relatively new director David Michod - he's
clearly now a presence to watch over the coming years with this essential
feature film debut.
Animal Kingdom is the perfect intelligent and excellently plotted antidote to
fast paced unsubstantial crime films- it's a savage must see.