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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing pains...
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...
Published on 13 Jan 2012 by Dariush Alavi

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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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6 of 6 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
(REAL NAME)   
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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4 of 4 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
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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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3 of 3 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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2 of 2 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
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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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2 of 2 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark and Great, 17 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
You have a pretty good idea of where you are within the first minutes of Animal Kingdom.

The credits appear over images of an armed robbery and the story opens with a young man sitting next to an unconscious lady. Deal Or No Deal's on the box and it looks like a normal day in a boring life. Normal, that is, until the paramedics turn up and set to work on the woman who had OD'd on heroine.

The young man is Joshua Cody. He calls his estranged grandmother to ask for help with the funeral arrangements and ends up moving in with her.

Joshua's mother kept him away from his extended family in the hope that he wouldn't get mixed up in their crime syndicate of robbery and drug pushing. Now that he's in the arms of his Grandmother, Smurf, things don't look good.

Smurf is a matriarchal lune. She has 4 crazy sons, 3 living at home and the craziest of them all, Pope, who's in hiding. For the set-up, think Cody Jarrett in White Heat, here; it's unlikely that the choice of name for the Animal Kingdom family is purely accidental.

The Cody family is in trouble because the lawless drug enforcers in police uniform are watching their every move in a bid to find Pope.

The film is stark. It's often static and claustrophobic. The characters are brutally real and easy to get to know. There are no bells and whistles to distract from the story's tension and uncomfortable quality. The performances are superb and the whole piece fits together like apple, sugar and pastry. Pope would have fitted well in to Blue Velvet and the main character Josh is played in a deadpan way that suggests the actor James Frecheville is going places (if he hasn't already).

There's no doubt that this is one to watch.

I'd also like to appeal to fans of Australian cinema to point me in the direction of more similar movies should there be many of them around.
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1 of 1 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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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, 25 May 2012
By 
The Truth "How it is" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
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 league.

Although, as an example of style and film making it's very well executed, it just lacked any Va-Va-Voom. It was a very slow film which built tension rather than let off steam and excitement.

It's taken me a few weeks to get round to writing this review because the main star gave a (intentionally) totally emotionless and flat performance throughout; this, combined with a lack of any real action throughout, left me feeling exhausted and deflated. It was a very grey, grim and dismal experience. The film dose well in creating a not very nice atmosphere throughout and this kind of rubs off on you and stays with you after watching.

There is a twist, of sorts, but that was spoilt for me too as one of the other reviews on here starts by blowing that - so careful what you read if you're thinking of buying this.

There's no denying that Animal Kingdom was well executed. I'm just not sure watching it was an experience I really enjoyed. Lifeless, dreary, lacklustre, featureless, droning, emotionless, glassy, impassive: these are all words I could associate with this film.

I'm unsure whether or not to give it 3 or 4 stars but I think I'm going to go with 3. It's well made, well acted and creates tension well - but I thought it just lacked... something. To me it felt monotonous.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A sublime example of an offbeat crime thriller., 12 Aug 2014
This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
With remarkable performances from a clutch of Australian actors who rarely get Hollywood credentials, Animal Kingdom revels in its own nuance, cutting a claustrophobic Melbourne crime land to rival that of LA and the more established urban underworlds. But it is the jittery-eyed creepiness of Ben Mendelsohn’s creation, contrasted with the imperviable solemnity of James Frecheville’s Josh, that creates the unbearable tension here. A wound up coil of sinister tension that not even the reassuring, chiselled face of an excellent Guy Pearce can relieve you from. It is just one of those films where your groan of sheer disbelief and cathartic exhaustion will echo resoundingly over the closing credits.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime epic for grown ups!, 15 July 2011
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This review is from: Animal Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
Wow finally after so many disappointing school boy British crime dramas here comes along a diamond from Australia.

It won't be everyone's cup of tea due to its mature pace but it left me speechless.

The rawness but yet subtlety of the story, the lack of glamour, and the coldness of any violence offers something new. Brilliantly acted and beautifuly shot with a backdrop sound structure to die for (i.e. the music).

Highly recommend it to a mature and thinking audience.
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Animal Kingdom [DVD]
Animal Kingdom [DVD] by James Frecheville (DVD - 2011)
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