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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Australian Crime Drama
Animal Kingdom is David Michod's feature directing debut, and what a debut! Certainly one of the best Australian films I have ever seen along with, say, Lantana, The Proposition and the Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. I guess the difficulty now for Michod is following it up with something of comparable quality.

Animal Kingdom charts the experiences of 17-year old...
Published on 18 Nov. 2011 by Keith M

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow burning, pressure cooker of a film... but it lacked sparkle
Animal Kingdom wasn't even on the radar when I stumbled across it, looking for new films. Reading reviews, I thought I'd found a hidden gem, but it wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

Don't get me wrong. It's OK. I mean, it's a good film - but reading some of the reviews on here I thought I'd found the next A Prophet or Scarface or something, but it's not in the same...
Published on 25 May 2012 by The Truth


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Australian Crime Drama, 18 Nov. 2011
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
Animal Kingdom is David Michod's feature directing debut, and what a debut! Certainly one of the best Australian films I have ever seen along with, say, Lantana, The Proposition and the Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. I guess the difficulty now for Michod is following it up with something of comparable quality.

Animal Kingdom charts the experiences of 17-year old Joshua Cody, as, following the death of his mother from a drugs overdose, he finds himself being 'adopted' by his near family, who (unfortunately for him) happen to be part of the criminal underworld, led by his maternal grandmother Janine Cody and her three sons. Michod directs with surprising assurance (given this is his debut) and has produced a slow-burning, brooding thriller whose main themes are misguided family loyalty mixed with near psychotic bursts of behaviour.

The cast is outstanding with three particular standouts for me. Ben Mendelsohn as Andrew 'Pope' Cody, the psycohotic 'leader' of the family gang is disturbingly convincing in what is a remarkably underplayed, brooding role. Jacki Weaver as the grandmother Janine Code is absolutely superb as the 'kindly' matriarch who has the best interests of her family at heart, but just happens to be completely deranged at the same time - she was deservedly nominated for an Oscar for this role. Finally, James Frecheville, in only his second film, puts in a very promising performance as the innocent grandson Joshua, who is totally convincing as he attempts to make very difficult moral judgements.

Great stuff, and essential viewing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing, nail biting affair, 27 Aug. 2011
By 
Mr. R. J. Everett "rob57836" (Ipswich, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
I almost had to seek assistance in wrenching myself away from the settee following the conclusion of this film, such was the degree to which it had me throughly gripped in anticipation and treidation for the plight of the lead character. Y'know theres cinematic apprehension that you get with films such as 'the departed' and then theres films like this that are so realistic in their portrayal of events and the subculture that they seek to represent that the suspense factor is simply jacked to the max. Some sublime performances from the cast throughout, particularly from the young lead actor. Proof in the pudding that you can be unhollywood without being arty and pretentious.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IT'S OKAY TO CRY, 2 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
17 year old Josh's mother dies from an OD which forces him to move back into his crime family. His grandmother (Jacki Weaver) is the Ma Barker type in that she stereotypically loves her boys perhaps a little too much in an unhealthy way. The beginning of the movie is filled with a lot of Josh's first person narration which introduces the characters as well as give us Josh's fatalist philosophy that is well beyond his age and maturity.

His new family teaches him things he didn't learn living with his mother like: Washing your hands after you use the restroom, playing pull my finger, and using a gun for road rage. As a "crime family" they are rather unimpressive. Selling cocaine seems to be their major source of income and they have help with an inside man to do that. Josh wants out, but doesn't know how to do it.

The film at times moves slow but is never dull. It is more drama than action. Josh (James Frecheville) is the main character and is seldom far from a scene.

F-bomb. No sex or nudity.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Business, 25 Aug. 2012
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
A good tight plot, plenty of very good actors and we are in business. This tale of a cadet branch of a Melbourne crime family and its run-ins with rogue (and otherwise) police is a grim one without the sentimentality that can appear in Hollywood films. There are plenty of twists, and the tongue-tied acting of the lead is right on the money. Good stuff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent gangster film, 19 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
I love australian cinema and this film doesnt disappoint . This shows a real crime family , far removed from the british cartoon rubbish . All the actors are excellent , Jacki Weaver amazing [ a real woman actress , unlike so many of the fake botox americans] and ofcourse Guy Pierce is once again brilliant . This is an adult film so its not always pleasant but it had me on the edge of my seat .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genuinely fresh take on the gangster movie, 30 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I've been a fan of Australian independent cinema since the 70s and seeing Animal Kingdom reminds me exactly why! What could have been just another Goodfellas clone turns out to be a genuinely fresh take on the gangster movie.

If you're expecting plenty of action, violence and bank heists (the Cody clan are bank robbers after all) you may be disappointed because this is a film about the relationships behind the crimes, not criminality itself. To that extent it's probably more inspired by The Godfather than anything else, though the scale is much smaller, the focus suburban, more gritty.

What it does share with The Godfather is a superb ensemble cast, excellent script and a level of ambiguity that never baffles but is always thought provoking. The acting is brilliant, from Jacki Weaver's matriarch `Smurf' (who could so easily have become a cliché but instead is vaguely incestuous, teary-eyed and more menacing than her psycho sons) to newcomer James Frecheville who remains a cipher for the entire film; a blank surface upon which the other characters reflect and are illuminated.

Combine all this with a crisp, mobile cinematography and a plot that has some genuinely surprising/shocking moments and you have a film that I would strongly suggest you see.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Animal Kingdom, 26 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
This Australian film received such brilliant reviews that I approached it not knowing what to expect. It seemed a different film to that reviewed (in fact, better) and the story revolves around a teenager who's mother dies of a heroin overdose. He is taken in by his grandmother to live with his four uncles, all of whom are serial criminals. To balance matters, the police serious crime squad are crims, too, bumping off outlaws when proper justice fails them. The cat and mouse game between the two factors, with Guy Pierce as the detective sergeant is entrancing and the two hours fly by.
The film won the Sundance International Awards in 2010 and it is easy to see why.
For a film that has only recently been in the cinemas, the cheap price was a pleasant surprise, too.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing pains..., 13 Jan. 2012
By 
Dariush Alavi "DariushAlavi.com" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Crime sagas often work well when they're told from the point of view of someone on the periphery of the main action. In this case, it's 17-year-old Josh who's just become an orphan and turns to his grandmother and uncles for support. Unfortunately for him, they're heavily involved with violent crime, which compels him to have to decide the direction in which he wishes to take his own life. Punctuated by several surprising twists and refreshingly devoid of cliches, Animal Kingdom strikes an admirable balance between cranking up the tension and presenting an engaging character study. James Frecheville as Josh and Jacki Weaver as the inscrutable matriarch are quite superb, as is the evocation of the Australian setting. A triumph.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm All Out Of Love, 14 Mar. 2011
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
David Michod, the Director and Screenwriter of 'Animal Kingdom' had given us a terrific film. Filmed in Melbourne, Australia it is akin to Scorsese's criminal New York or Boston.

We meet the storyteller, Josh Cody, played by James Frechevile, watching television while a woman next to him looks asleep. A few minutes later the emergency squad arrives, and we learn this is J Cody's mother who has died from a heroin overdose. J calls his grandmother who he has not seen in many years. Smurf Cody, as played by Jacki Weaver, is the grandmother, and she is one of those loving psychopaths that give you the creeps. She has come to get Josh to bring him into the bosom of her criminal, psychopathic family. His uncles, Pope, played by Ben Mendelsohn, is so unnerving that is was difficult to watch him. Darren is played by Luke Ford and Craig is Sullivan Stapleton. This is a group of people who steal, deal in drugs and murder at the drop of a hat. Josh enters the family and though he is not part of the criminal activity, he is part of the family. Pope has been on the lam, and enters the family via the back door, literally. He is to be avoided at all costs. Smurf, the Granny, kisses all of her sons on the lips and lingers a little too long for comfort. What has gone on in this home? Smurf mentions to Pope that maybe he should start taking his meds again. You think? No one is safe and after two innocent policemen are killed, the law is after the Codys. Josh in the middle is innocent, but one particular detective, played by Guy Pearce, seems to think he can save him. Nothing works, and Josh realizes he need to look out for himself, and he has a plan. At one point in the film, Air Supply is seen and heard on the television playing their song 'I'm All Out Of Love'. At the same time, we see Pope watching Josh and his girl, Nicky, asleep on the couch. One of the creepiest scenes in the movie.

" Crooks always come undone, always, one way or another," Josh tells us at the beginning of the film. It takes a long time to get there, and we are battled and drawn by the time we figure this out. A terrific film that shows the dark side of crime and life.

Highly Recommended, prisrob 03-14-11
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Crooks Always Come Undone", 14 July 2011
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
This is a film about seventeen year old Josh (J), it starts by him calling telling an ambulance crew that his mother has overdosed on heroin. They are too late and he calls his estranged grand mother for help. She is the matriarch of a crime family of drug dealers and armed robbers.

He then is welcomed into the bosom of the family and they assume he is just like the rest of them. The police are watching them , but some rogue cops have decided that the normal course of justice runs a tad slow, and have been using alternative methods.

Guy Pearce plays the good cop, who wants to save J, he knows he is not like the rest of them. They though are all in varying degrees scared or cowed by the worst `Uncle' that being Uncle Pope - he is the one the cops really want. J gets a girlfriend he met at school and is trying to be `normal', but finds it increasingly difficult if not impossible to stay on the fringes.

This is an excellent, taught, crime drama, from Australia, it is brilliantly acted by all players and there is some excellent camera work. This is no `Scarface' in terms of violence, but what there is really keeps you hooked from the very beginning. The grandmother is a real star, both loving and ruthless in equal measures. We also have corrupt cops, corrupt solicitors and drug use. This is a real gem of a film and another thumbs up to Screen Australia for putting up some of the funds.
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Animal Kingdom [DVD]
Animal Kingdom [DVD] by James Frecheville (DVD - 2011)
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