Monday, 19 December 2011

Film: Animal Kingdom (2010)

Animal Kingdom (2010) is a stunning film debut by director David Michôd. After his mother dies of an overdose, ’J’ (Josh, played by James Frecheville)  is taken into her family and looked after, if that is the word, by his grandmother (Jacki Weaver), who broods contentedly  over his career criminal uncles. Soon J is caught up in a lethal battle between his family and the police, where the armed robbery squad is out of control. Only the detective (Guy Pearce) investigating one shocking crime represents some kind of decent humanity.  Recognising J’s vulnerable  state, he tries to fish him out of the piranha tank. The film is superbly paced, gradually ratcheting up the tension as we descend deeper into the moral murk. J’s uncle ‘Pope’, superbly played by Ben Mendelsohn, is the most terrifying corrupt elder figure I have seen since the César Luciani character in A Prophet. Pope is responsible for the film’s most horrifying scene, and just as we are taking that in J’s grandmother reveals herself in her full disturbing colours. Animal Kingdom is a stunning examination of  psychopathic evil and its savage consequences.

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