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
Joshua 'J' Cody:
Mum kept me away from her family because she was scared. I didn't realise it at the time, but they were all scared - even if they didn't show it. I think even Barry Brown was scared - even though he never showed it. Everyone felt safe around Baz. He'd punch your head off if ya got in the way - if he was in the middle of an armed robbin', you got between him and the door, he'd put you on the ground and not think twice about it. But he was good to me, and to everyone else. Darren was only a ...
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Australian screenwriter and director David Michôd's feature film debut was shot in Melbourne, Victoria in the south-east of Australia. The screenplay which was written by the director is loosely inspired by the criminal family, the Pettingill Family and the Walsh Street police shootings which took place in Melbourne 1988 where two Victoria police officers were murdered. It tells the story about Joshua, a seventeen-year-old who lives with his mother in a Melbourne suburb. When Joshua's mother dies due to an overdose he decides to contact his grandmother Janine Cody who he has not seen in a long time and immediately he is invited to come and live with her. Joshua thankfully accepts her offer and moves into her house where he is welcomed by his uncles Craig and Darren. Though well aware that he is living with a notorious family of criminals, Joshua feels protected and taken care of by his relatives, but when his eldest uncle Andrew returns home after having been in hiding from the police, Joshua realizes the gravity of what it means to be part of this family and what it demands of him.
In his directorial debut, David Michôd stylistically and brilliantly directs this well-paced and character-driven family saga about a young man who finds himself entangled in a vital personal conflict when he recognizes that he has to sacrifice his own future in order to maintain his loyalty to his relatives. This well-written fictional crime drama which examines themes such as family relations, loyalty, coming-of-age, survival, crime and love, has a rigorous narrative structure and draws a multifaceted portrayal of a heartless and vicious family which is headed by the conniving Justine Cody aka "Smurf".
The shaded and aesthetic cinematography by cinematographer Adam Arkapaw and the distinct use of sound reinforces the ominous and austere atmosphere in this incisive and internal study of character, which provides a gripping depiction of the protagonist's relationship with a seasoned local detective. This memorable Australian production is a dark psychological thriller with a fine score by Antony Partos, Sam Petty and David McCormack and substantial acting performances by Australian actress Jacki Weaver, Australian actors Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Sullivan Stapleton and James Frecheville in his debut feature film role. A prominent independent film with realistic urban milieu depictions which gained, among numerous other awards, eight AFI Awards at the Australian Film Institute Awards in 2010.
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