Friday, 18 March 2011

Animal Kingdom reviewed


A claustrophobic and intense Australian thriller, tightly shot .

What do you do when you are 17 year old, or there about, and have to live with your uncle who is a brutal robber and a murderer? When the nice grandmother who welcomed you with open arms plots your death with corrupt lawyers and bent coppers when you become a liability to a family of hardened criminals?

From the opening scene, where Joshua Cody (James Frecheville) waits for the paramedics to take care of her dead mother, until the “below the belt” closing scene between Joshua and his uncle Pope Cody (Ben Mendelsohn), a brutal armed robber who was in the run from a gang of renegade detectives, and the tight hand held close camera work, Animal Kingdom kept me on my toes all the way through.

There are no sympathetic characters at all, with the possible exception of detective Nathan Leckie (an excellent Guy Pearce, who also excelled in The King’s Speech as Edward VIII), who tries to lure Joshua into the law and guide him through a labyrinth of witness protection, bent cops and a vengeful family fighting for survival, Pope’s partner, Barry (Joel Edgerton), who is convinced that the money is no longer in merciless armed robbery, but in manipulating the stock markets, whilst Craig (Sullivan Stapleton), a younger brother, is up to his neck in drug trafficking, where the risks are not as great and the pickings much higher, and the youngest of them, Darren (Luke Ford), trying to live in the middle of this paranoid and merciless world.

Allegiances can change every day, a world where everyone around Joshua is fighting for his own interest, or hers, as does their mother (Joshua’s grandmother), Smurf (Jacqui Weaver). She has no regrets in plotting to “deal with” her grandson Joshua when he becomes unreliable and a liability after becoming aware of the involvement of his uncles in the murder of two young police officers, assassinated as revenge by the earlier brutal murder of Pope’s partner, Barry, by bent cops.

This is the animal kingdom where Joshua soon comes to realize that, if he is going to survive he has to sharpen his game. He knows that his girlfriend Nicky (Laura Wheelwright) was murdered with an overdose of heroin, her body dumped into a back alley, for merely having been on the wrong place at the wrong time. He manages to finally wrong footing the police, the bent cops, and his family.

The extremely tight camera work and a close knit script do indeed heighten the sense of intense and unsettling claustrophobic paranoia that permeates the film.

Written & Directed by David Michôd
Running Time: 113 mins / Certificate: 15

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment on issues relating to cinema or the specific post theme. All comments are moderated. All other comments will be rejected, particularly those marketing other sites or blogs.