Animal Kingdom (15)

Written and directed by David Michod
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival 2010
Screening at FACT from 25th February 2011

Reviewed by Michelle McKay

The fact that this movie is based on true events only serves to make it more chilling than if it were fiction, but the drama that unfolds is so gripping that you feel like you're there, and it stays with you long after leaving the cinema.

I'm loathe to give away any of the plot as it is best to go on that journey whilst watching the movie, however the story is set in suburban Melbourne, Australia: sunny, barbecues, humour, mundanity etc. Guy Pearce will be familiar to UK audiences, but it is as far removed from Neighbours as you can get. Animal Kingdom concerns a teenage boy who meets his mother's estranged family after she dies. He soon discovers that the family business is crime, but the armed robbery squad are closing in. Just like in the jungle, its survival of the fittest, and blood is thicker than water (or is it?)

Superb dialogue and acting throughout, particularly from Ben Mendelsohn: always menacing as Uncle Andrew, and Jacki Weaver: (nominated for a Best Supporting Actress oscar) as coquettish Janine Cody, who loves her boys like Violet Kray loved her sons. She may be nicknamed Grandma Smurf but dont let that deceive you! This movie is a must see, and you may need a strong beverage afterwards.

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