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
The first cut of the film was 155 minutes long. See more »
Detective Randall Roache:
Look I know you got a problem Janine, but I don't see how this mess your boys are in has got anything to do with me. So if you've called me in here to see if there are some strings I can pull in your way of course. Is that what this is about?
Hey Randall, before you go on, this boy who's currently being looked after, tell me if you agree with this, this boy who's being looked after, he knows who you are. And you know how these things go they're gonna ask him all sorts of questions about ...
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Sitting in Limbo
Written by Jimmy Cliff and Guilly Bright (as Guillermo Bright-Plummer)
Performed by Jimmy Cliff
Published by Island Music Limited
Administered by Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd
Under license from Universal-Island Records Ltd (UK)
Licensed courtesy of Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd See more »
The backdrop to this movie is Melbourne, Australia in the mid-1980's, which (according to the director) had one of the highest per-capita murder rates in the world. At the time, there were several deaths in Melbourne in which wanted and suspected criminals were killed by the police under suspicious circumstances. These killings in turn supposedly ignited a slew of retaliatory murders perpetrated on police officers (cf. the "Walsh Street" police shootings).
This is a movie about a young man (Josh or "J," played by James Frecheville) whose extended family are all criminals. Using the character of seventeen-year-old J as a sort of catalyst, the movie explores a variety of crime-related issues, from the effects of growing up in a world where criminal activity is the norm, to the escalation of crime that is a natural consequence of vigilantism (especially when the vigilantes are police).
The characters are all played very well, with exceptionally good performances given by Ben Mendelsohn, Jackie Weaver, Sullivan Stapleton and young James Frecheville in his debut as J.
While "Animal Kingdom" starts slowly (perhaps -too- slowly for some), it continually builds in intensity throughout the entire movie, culminating with an ending that is both shocking and yet inevitable. In particular, the movie has a very compelling scene played perfectly by Mendelsohn, with an awesome supporting role played by Luke Ford - I'm sure this scene repulsed many in the audience (it certainly repulsed me). At first, I feared that the scene was added by the director merely as a gratuitous exploitation of the audience's emotions. However, as the movie progresses, the scene's outcome becomes an integral part of the plot development, and is therefore necessary for the completion of the main story.
This movie will not be for everybody - the subject matter and the honest way in which the movie portrays it made the movie somewhat taxing at times to sit through. However, I think those willing to consider the necessity of telling the story of "Animal Kingdom" will find the movie entertaining and thought-provoking - I certainly did.
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