Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FILM REVIEW: ANIMAL KINGDOM

Josh Cody (James Frecheville) tries to survive in Animal Kingdom. 
 
A fiendish family

By John Esther

Seventeen-year-old Josh Cody (James Frecheville) has come to live with his four uncles (Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton) and grandmother (Jacki Weaver) just about the time they become enemy number one to the Melbourne police.

A brotherhood of bank robbers, the police cannot nail the Cody clan so they decide to kill one of the uncles -- the most sympathetic one --  in broad daylight in a crowded parking lot. This ridiculous act is countered with the brothers doing something equally preposterous to the police. Time for a showdown. (Apparently Quentin Tarantino has returned the cinematic f(l)avor to Australia.)
As the tensions and bodies mount, momma bear swarms around her cubs to demonstrably demonic effect while Leckie (Guy Pearce) struggles for justice in the concrete jungle.

Ridiculously awarded the Sundance Grand Jury prize for best international film, this mediocre movie about a Melbourne crime family has its moments – the actors are quite good, although Weaver is not as great as some reviewers report -- but it requires a considerable amount of shortsightedness to eschew the plentiful poor plot points. 

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