A great, moody (the music and cinematography really set a great tone here) look at a crime family. Great acting, and the tension builds and builds until it hits an abrupt -- but memorable -- ending, making this a very affective movie.
A perfect antithesis to the romanticized violent bank heists of The Town, Animal Kingdom takes a more realistic look at what comes next after the job is over. Pearce rocks an incredible moustache, while Mendlsohn, and to some extent Weaver, give abjectly terrifying performances. It's easy to say J is an idiot when we the audience always know things he doesn't -- but we watch him go from weak and naive blank slate to the calculating pack leader. Brutally intense film that held me from the start.
At first glance this seems like a typical crime drama. However, due to the powerhouse performances and fantastic script it rises above most others. No ridiculous monologues, no farfetched plot lines, and a superbly psychotic antagonist. Top-notch.
While I thought some individual scenes worked at least cinematically, I really didn't enjoy much of this film at all. I never got on board with the introverted teenager. He was often times way too awkward. I thought Guy Pearce did a fine enough job with his part, I couldn't shake that he already played a similar detective type role in LA Confidential that is just leagues above this performance. Everything else felt really pretentious and the twists became annoyingly predictable once initiated.
Slick and well-made, with plenty to admire on a technical level, Mich˘d's film is also disappointingly hollow, detached and emotionless. A closed off world, with no characters to connect with or to draw you in. The story is run-of-the-mill and any character development barely perceptible. No drive, no urgency, no desire, no passion, no charisma, no humour, no magic.
This is a"disengaging" movie. It has great material and some very good shots. But the whole thing is depicted from a chronically depressed point of view. It is more like watching an unedited reality show. Give this story to Kim Ki-Duk and he will make a masterpiece out of it.
A excellent crime drama. I think on the DVD case it called it the Australian version of Good fellas, which I would agree on that description. I thought that the boy J in the movie was doing a really good job although his performance almost seemed purposefully muted to look less extreme around the other crime boss characters. Once again Guy Pearce was so well disguised that the movie almost ended before I noticed it was him. This movie was gritty and surprising, had a Soprano's vibe.
Josh is confused all the time. But then, so would you be if your family were as psycho as his are. How can you tell right from wrong if your own grandmother happily smiles there while knowing how her sons make a living through bank robberies and drugs? The only relief J has is his girlfriend, but even she seems more fascinated by J's family than him. You can use all those great crime flick adjectives about this (gritty etc.), but it still remains a some way away from the very best in the genre.
Guy Pearce can do anything but as the movie shift gears, the audacity and power of the first act make his investigation seem dull. This is in part because Mendelsohn is much less convincing than the excellent Sullivan Stapleton. I simply loved his part of the film, best of the year-material. What starts out fresh and realistic unfortunately ends up turning a bit generic and slightly ridiculous. Too bad.
Disappointed. That is my reaction after seeing this highly acclaimed crime piece from Michod. It fails to be as gritty and menacing as it wants to be, runs at sluggish pace over the course of two hours with only a few fascinating developments. Even the story/plot/script is rather mediocre which is the main concern, its just not inviting, interesting and you hope the whole time the story's blandness will be interrupted by something actually worth your time.
Yes, it's a well-made film, and I love that it's a gangster drama that never plays action scenes as big action scenes but just as short, violent outbursts that are over before they get started. But the director swathes everything else in mood music and slow motion, as if he himself thinks the movie would be too dull otherwise. Not bad, not great.
A very interesting take on the crime family movie. There's a good tone here, and a good plot, but the movie is a little too slowly-paced and detached for its own good, in that... well, you don't actually give a shit about what happens to the characters. A great performance from Jacki Weaver, but this alone doesn't elevate Animal Kingdom to greatness. I did end up liking it, but I'm not overly impressed. Score is not a grade.
A family drama told with the structure of a coming of age film, in which this young lad is gradually taking responsibility over things, while his relatives are dying around him. The director crafts a bleak, raw and slow-burning blood splatter crime flick -- specially in the first act --, that, in his best moments, resembles Eastwood's masterpiece Mystic River. Weaver is not brilliant as they say, but embodies an authority that is only trying to stay alive -- and, if possible, her loved ones too.
This film focuses on its character's reactions to the onslaught of violence around them, and in so doing vividly personifies the unique individuals of its cast. The parallels between the police and the criminals generate a sphere of moral ambivalence in which the criminals are both aggressors and victims. This outlaw theme lends the film a claustrophobic tone that is wary and threatening, with a threat that is ultimately borne out in an effective, albeit somewhat horrifying, manner.
Strong crime drama brought down a bit by a dud lead performance. I suppose the point is that this kid is kind of a blank slate, but looking at his constant pout/glare gets old quick. I'm not sure Jacki Weaver's role is all it's hyped up to be, but it's definitely an unusual part and she plays it well. More impressive is Ben Mendelsohn as the menacing uncle. The directorial aspects were unimpressive but certainly competent, and although the story drags a bit it's got some compelling angles.