Despite being no saint herself, Julia Cody has shielded her seventeen year old son, Joshua "J" Cody, from her Melbourne-based criminal relatives who they have not seen in years. After Julia dies in front of J's eyes from a self-inflicted heroin overdose, J, who is slightly detached from life, feels he has no choice but to contact his maternal grandmother, Janine "Smurf" Cody, the family matriarch, for a place to live. Smurf rules the family with a borderline incestuous love over her three sons, the quietly menacing Andrew "Pope" Cody, the hyperactive Craig Cody, and the barely of age Darren Cody. Pope and his best friend, Barry "Baz" Brown, are armed robbers, with Darren their up and coming apprentice, while Craig is a mid level drug dealer. Melbourne's Armed Robbery Squad is after specifically Pope, who is hiding out. But when the standoff between the Codys and the Armed Robbery Squad is brought up a notch, an all out war ensues, with some casualties and J caught in the middle. The ... Written by
"Animal Kingdom" is a documentary that tells the tale of the creation of the infamous Disney Park! Not! Actually, the "Animal Kingdom" I am referring to has a far more different theme than the jolly theme park. "Animal Kingdom" is a superior Australian movie about a 17-year-old high school teen named Joshua "J" Cody who suddenly gets captured into a crime-ridden animalistic family filled with bank robbers, drug dealers, and murderers; these predators just happen to be his ferocious uncles and his matriarch, manipulative grandma. Joshua mother's fatal drug overdose results in his moving in with the Killer Cody herd. Writer-Director David Michod's masterpiece (yes, I said the "M" word) is undoubtedly one of the best family crime dramas that I have ever witnessed. Michod does not exploit the movie as a bang-bang shoot-them-up mindless tale, but instead he brilliantly centers the film around J's subjective experiences on being entrapped in this futile crime world which he did not choose to be a part of. Furthermore, Michod provides an authentic look at the mentality of a crime-ridden family which have deep-ridden fears that are masked with their avenging, scheming actions. Hey mates, I think David Michod is the real deal, this is his first film so I can't wait for more cinematic kingdoms to come from young David. The cast of "Animal Kingdom" is divine! James Frecheville's restrained "WTF is going on around me" performance as J was a stellar freshman effort. "The Men From Uncle", in other words the Cody Crime Brothers, were an eclectic and intimidating trio portrayed astoundingly by their Aussie actors. Ben Mendelsohn was profoundly menacing as Pope Cody, the uncle whose gaze and gestures were perfected by Mendelsohn in detailing the ruthlessness of his character. Sullivan Stapleton's fury performance as the "Sonny Corleone-like" Craig Cody staples Sullivan as an Aussie actor on the rise. The younger but more fragile & insecure Cody name Darren was played with exact aptitude by Luke Ford. But the stellar supporting cast ensemble of "Animal Kingdom" was not just about the Uncles. Joel Edgerton shined as Barry Brown, the Cody family confidante who happens to be the cerebral architect of the Cody armed robbery crew. And the veteran Aussie acclaimed actor Guy Pearce once again pierced away on his diversified acting skills with another grand effort in his work as the "J-guide to the good side" Detective Leckie. But it was Jacki Weaver's virtuoso performance as the grandma that I was hoping would get run over by a reindeer or at least a kangaroo, was the one that had the most thespian bite of them all. Weaver's Oscar-nominated performance as the conniving Smurf Cody is what acting dreams are made of! It will be an unjustified supertramp I mean supertrap if this DreamWeaver is not awarded the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award! There is not one mundane or insignificant scene in "Animal Kingdom", it is as luring as it is unpredictable, just like the animal kingdom itself. Go on a scavenger cinematic hunt and set your sights on the "Animal Kingdom". ***** Excellent
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