Title: Animal Kingdom
MPAA Rating: R
Director: David Michôd
Starring: Jacki Weaver, Guy Pearce, James Frecheville
Runtime: 1 hours 52 minutes
What It Is?: After 17-year-old Josh “J” Cody (Frecheville) suffers the death of his mother via overdose he is forced to live with his grandmother Janine “Smurf” Cody (Weaver). However Grandma Smurf is not living alone in this house; with her she has Josh’s uncles Andrew aka “Pope”, Darren, and Craig. These three brothers, along with a mutual friend named Barry Brown, have been robbing Australia’s banks for years. However, the family business appears to be running on fumes with Uncle Pope running from the law, and Barry Brown wanting out to focus on his family. The police, specifically the Armed Robbery Squad, is clinching their grip on the gang's activities. Now, as if having Josh join the house wasn’t enough, his on-the-run Uncle Pope has returned and he’s hell bent on maintaining the power that he once had. On the other side, Detective Leckie (Pearce) is trying to turn “J” against his uncles in order to save him, and perhaps their lives. But who is really pulling the strings in the Cody clan?
What We Think?: Never have I seen a more riveting film made in America, let alone this wonderful import from “down under,” which brought us a terrifically solid performance from Weaver as Janine Cody, and I’m not the only one who thinks so; Weaver was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. Alongside that, we have a great performance by newcomer James Frecheville. Never has a film gripped me as this did. There is one scene in particular, when “J” goes to his girlfriend's dad for a ride because he knows his Uncle Pope is on the way over there steaming and angry–you just hope and pray that “J”, her dad, and her little brother get out safe.
Our Score: A+, Holy crap–I can’t say it enough. If you haven’t had the pleasure of checking this one out, or you're afraid of foreign films, do yourself a favor and watch this. It’ll have you riding along with it. This is the type of thriller the edge of your seat was made for. Now it’s time to use it!