Animal Kingdom 2010 R CC

(90) IMDb 7.3/10
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The story of a teenager as he navigates his survival in the Melbourne underworld amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.

Starring:
James Frecheville, Bryce Lindemann
Runtime:
1 hour, 54 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director David Michôd
Starring James Frecheville, Bryce Lindemann
Supporting actors Paul Smits, Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton, Mirrah Foulkes, Anthony Ahern, Justin Rosniak, Michael Vice, Chris Weir, Laura Wheelwright, Sarah Nguyen, Lucia Cai, Ben Mendelsohn, Ann Michôd, Susan Prior, Clayton Jacobson, Tim Phillipps
Studio Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Miles D. Moore on September 12, 2010
Format: DVD
"Animal Kingdom," David Michod's debut feature, is undeniably well-made and compelling, but it's strictly for people who thought "The Departed" was too optimistic. Seventeen-year-old Joshua Cody (James Frecheville), known as J, never had a chance, as "Animal Kingdom" makes plain from the opening shot. Once J's mother dies of a heroin overdose, he has nowhere to go but the home of his "Grandma Smurf" (Jacki Weaver) and uncles, a violent group of career criminals that makes "White Heat" and "Bloody Mama" look like "Mary Poppins." The Codys live in a seedy section of Melbourne in which police and crooks are essentially competing mobs, sometimes cooperating but more often taking hits out on each other. It's a true jungle, just as merciless as the Serengeti and far more corrupt.

"Animal Kingdom" is essentially the story of how J is sucked inexorably into a life of crime, enhanced by ominous music and portentous slo-mo camera effects. Ben Mendelsohn--playing J's Uncle Andrew, a/k/a The Pope--is absolutely terrifying. So is Weaver as the outwardly cheery but inwardly satanic Grandma Smurf, who will sacrifice anyone and anything to preserve the family business. "Just because you don't want to do something," she remarks at one crucial point, "doesn't mean it can't be done." As for Frecheville, at the beginning he's reminiscent of Forrest Gump if Forrest had been played by the young Rupert Everett. His performance gains in power, however, as his afflictions pile up and his true nature starts to come out.

There are a few things about "Animal Kingdom" that don't fit together; for example, it's a little too convenient that upright Detective Sergeant Leckie (Guy Pearce) should be so ignorant of the corruption in his own police force. Nevertheless, "Animal Kingdom" is a persuasive crime drama and an admirable debut film for Michod. Just don't watch it when you're already depressed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 1, 2011
Format: DVD
ANIMAL KINGDOM is tough little film from Australia, well written and directed by David Michôd, and acted by a fine ensemble cast of actors. It is a frightening tale of crime and corruption, of one family of criminal sociopaths both pitted against and partnered by the police in Melbourne, Australia. Though the film wanders times, altering past and present in a manner that proves confusing to the whole, the impact in the end is stunning.

Joshua "J" Cody (James Frecheville) narrates the film and we first meet this young 17-year-old sitting beside his mother who has just died from an overdose of heroin. In a most detached way he calls his maternal grandmother Smurf (Jacki Weaver) and asks if she remembers him: his mother has been estranged from her family for years. Smurf welcomes his call and complies with his desire to move to her home. And what a home she runs! Smurf's sons are sociopathic criminals on the run from the law (but also involved with the law in the illegal sale of drugs with bad cops). The worst offender is Pope (Ben Mendelsohn) who is the brains behind the crimes the family commits: he is also on medication for his mental challenge. The other two brothers are drug-addled Craig (Sullivan Stapleton) and the strange very young Darren (Luke Ford). Pope's best friend in crime is the rather tender Baz (Joel Edgerton) with whom J can relate. J is thus thrust into the family he has not known and becomes reluctantly involved with the criminal shenanigans and killings of Smurf's boys. Smurf has a bizarre relationship with her 'gang' of sons, seemingly kind and protective but with a surprising evil side of her own.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By PDX NATE on February 26, 2011
Format: DVD
This Aussie crime drama rates very high on my list of best crime dramas in the past 15 or 20 years. The screenplay, directing & acting were all superb, rivaling that of Heat & Goodfellas. It also has some similarities to the 80's film At Close Range with Penn & Walken, which was also brilliantly acted. This film was a directorial debut for the director, which makes it all the more impressive. This film is far superior to The Departed, which won best picture a few years back, but I'm sure it will get slighted by OSCAR because it's an Aussie film. The film keeps your attention & is very unpredictable, has many twists & turns & has a brilliant ending. Don't miss this film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Wilkinson on November 22, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Australia has been a rising force in the international film market. Films such as "Wolf Creek" and "The Loved Ones" prove that Australia can churn out some gritty, violent and disturbing films. "Animal Kingdom" is no exception. This movie is a powerhouse of great film making with intense performances, impeccable direction and a brilliant script. You may find yourself thinking that you've seen this story before, but you've never seen it with the same intensity and emotion.

"Animal Kingdom" is at it's heart a coming of age story in a crime family. Joshua, played by James Frecheville, is a 17 year old recently orphaned kid who's family is a mixture of drug dealers and bank robbers. Joshua's mother dies in the beginning of the film from a drug overdose and the only option he has is to go live with his grandmother. Jackie Weaver stunningly plays Janine 'Smurf' Cody, the matriarchal grandmother running everything. As Joshua gets situated in his new home he begins to find he's in a very volatile situation. One that he has to decide whether to be a part of or not. A decision that will undoubtedly change his entire life.

This film is akin to Scorcese's masterpieces "Casino", "The Departed" and "Taxi Driver". Director, David Michôd emulated these films yet certainly made "Animal Kingdom" his own. As his first feature film, Michôd made it seem easy. The incredibly taut script left nothing to be desired. As in the Scorcese films I mentioned, the script was the key ingredient to make this film such a brilliant piece of work. Some crime drama's can get away with having a back story everyone knows, yet the script is sub par. "Animal Kingdom" is not only fresh but being from Australia it's impact is that much greater to American audiences.
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