ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Animal Kingdom (2010) Movie Review

This is under J because of Jacki Weaver’s Oscar nominated performance.

Director: David Michod

Writer: David Michod (Screenplay)

Starring: James Frecheville, Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton, Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn

Plot: A seventeen-year-old navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.

Tagline – Protection, manipulation, morality, survival, loyalty.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Animal Kingdom starts when Joshua (Frecheville) finds his mother having an overdose, which will see him turn to his grandmother Janine (Weaver) who welcomes him into her criminal family with Baz (Edgerton), Darren (Ford) and Craig (Stapleton) who start to try and teach him how they operate for Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody (Mendelsohn).

When the family starts clashing with the police, Josh finds himself in the middle of helping his estranged family and working with the cops to bring the family down.

Thoughts on Animal Kingdom

Characters – Josh has lived with his mother that has been on drugs most of his life and now she has overdosed leaving him without family needing to turn to the estranged one he hasn’t had contact with, he is thrown into a world of drugs and crime, where he isn’t willing to take part in, but can’t escape without being left alone. Pope is the most aggressive member of the criminal family, often left out of family get togethers, but always able to manipulate the family members into committing the crimes. Janine is the grandmother that lets her boys do the dirty work for the business, without needing to get involved herself, keeping herself clean from any police action. Detective Nathan Leckie is the man that tries to help Josh escape this world, looking to bring the family down once and for all.

PerformancesJames Frecheville in the leading role does bring us the reclusive performance that doesn’t know how to grief and how to escape this world well, with star making performances in the supporting roles for Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that finds himself drawn into a criminal family after his own mother dies, needing to figure out what is best for himself in a world where he doesn’t know if there is an safe way out. This does fall into the set of stories which will see the new person thrown into a world they are not used to, needing to figure out how to survive it, when any wrong move could see him killed. We are kept guessing with plenty of shocking moments we don’t see coming happening, which highlights just how deadly this world is for everyone involved. We do however have some strange choices as to why certain characters commit certain decisions.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows just what the family does get up to and how they will do anything to keep their operation running smoothly.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us how drug dealer can be operating in any neighbourhood, how they will feel like part of the community, grabbing the attention when the police do get involved.

Scene of the Movie – We need to talk, Pope and Josh.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain moments with Pope feel like they could have even more shock value to them, with what goes through his head.

Final Thoughts Animal Kingdom is a gritty crime drama with excellent performances that help elevate everything we see along the way.

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