By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
In this most prominent example of a new wave of Australian film-making, a young man goes to live with his recently deceased mother’s family, only to find himself caught in a whirlwind of crime and violence.
When you think of Australia, you probably have a mess of kangaroos, crocodiles, manly women and manlier men, shrimps, and barbies on your mind.Well, it turns out you can throw good movies into the mix as well, and Animal Kingdom is one of their best of the last few decades.
I’m just going to assume Hogan directed this film.
This film is put together flawlessly, with top-notch direction and camerawork complementing an interesting and apparently true story.The score does an amazing job of creating a mounting eeriness and sense of desperation that goes hand-in-hand with the plot.
The plot itself keeps you engages as our protagonist begins to realize that his bank-robbing, back-stabbing family is beginning to lose control as the noose tightens around them.The violence in this film is brutal and often comes when you least expect it, stunning you like a slap in the face.
Most of this is due to his uncle, ‘Pope’ Cody, played maniacally by Ben Mendelsohn, is a true psychopath who hastens the family’s decline.
Not somebody you’d wanna have a beer, or crackpipe, with
The best performance, though, is Jacki Weaver’s, who plays the mild-mannered matriarch of the family who becomes a calculating, vicious animal of a woman when her sons are finally cornered.The performance is thrilling when it gets going and adds a whole new layer to the family dynamic.
All of the pieces are right, but this one still lacks some oomph, even with the constant threat of violence keeping you on edge.This is probably due to the almost glacial pacing.It’s slow like Dan Connolly trying to take one to the house.
Connolly acts quickly upon hearing that the endzone is made of ham
Our protagonist doesn’t help this much, spending a crazy amount of time mouthbreathing and staring dumbly.I can’t imagine what his acting directions could have been, but I’ve seen more range from pizza deliveryman in a cheap softcore flick.
I hope you ordered extra sausage!
Watch it.Jacki Weaver tears it up and no way you see everything coming.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: whenever Mendelsohn does something creepy
Take a drink: each time the cops do something illegal
Drink a shot: whenever a twist happens that you didn’t foresee