The best Australian badass movie since Chopper, David Michôd’s Sundance winner shows us a violent Melbourne crime family imploding in the iron grip of its pint-sized matriarch. With Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
The best Australian badass movie since Chopper – and upping the felon count dramatically – David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom is a coolly measured picture of a violent Melbourne crime family imploding in the iron grip of its pint-sized matriarch. — BG
“This year’s Sundance discovery was without a doubt the Australian writer-director David Michôd. His feature debut, Animal Kingdom, which rightfully won the World Jury Dramatic Prize, is a layered, fascinating drama of cops and criminals (and their intersection), superbly acted by a cast of Down Under royalty and led by newcomer James Frecheville as the practically silent teen observer whose mother has just OD’d on heroin… He moves in with his grandmother and three uncles who are wanted by the police, and while it’s immediately evident that they’re bad news, it’s the slow build to the full extent of the young man’s jeopardy, as he is unavoidably sucked into the family’s savage way of life, that makes the film so nerve-wracking.” — Laura Kern, Film Comment
“Michôd’s lean script enlivens the underbelly of graceful Melbourne thanks to a flawless ensemble cast… Frecheville begins as a monosyllabic teen and grows up fast as distrust builds between him and [his uncle] Pope, played with a chilling sinister depravity by Ben Mendelsohn. As Smurf, veteran Jacki Weaver is memorable as the brutal crime mother watching over her brood who makes her hardened sons look soft. Superb cinematography and production design capture Melbourne at its drabbest. The city’s tourism officials may not be proud of what the Animal Kingdom shows, but they will certainly recognise their town.” — David D’Arcy, Screendaily