Four fantastic four-star Australian thrillers available on Netflix and/or Amazon

The Australian 80s band Men at Work claims that women from Down Under glow and the men plunder.  Although this is inherently a mix message, there is no denying that Australians routinely and consistently deliver great movies.  Looking back through Art House Film Wire’s recent rolodex, here are four fantastic four-star thrillers that are available on Netflix and/or Amazon right now, and no question, these movies get glowing reviews from Art House Film Wire.

“Animal Kingdom” (2010) – The walls of justice begin to close in on a family of bank robbers under a cloudy, Shakespearean atmosphere in writer/director David Michod’s sensational debut film.   Led by matriarch, Janine Cody (Jacki Weaver), all members of the Cody family feel the law grabbing at their heals and heads and decide to fight back with methods they understand – paranoia, violence and betrayal.  At the center of the storm is a newly-orphaned 17-year-old, ‘J’ (James Frencheville), who feels the claustrophobic circumstances more than anyone, and we, the audience, unfortunately share the brutal experience with him. Weaver was deservedly nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but the Academy inexplicably left Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Uncle Pope, off the Best Supporting Actor list (and the film off the Best Picture list).   Janine may be the mastermind of the family business, but Uncle Pope is the most sinister. This jaw-dropping movie begins with an unsettling opening, lulls you into a sense of comfort and yanks you to the edge of your seat. What do you expect when the walls of justice begin to close in?  (Netflix DVD, Amazon Streaming)

⭐⭐⭐⭐  out of   ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Hounds of Love” (2017) – John (Stephen Curry) and Evelyn (Emma Booth) kidnap teenage girls for – apparently – the “sport” of it, as writer/director Ben Young’s camera enters their home and documents the daily, grimy details of the couple’s sick escapades.  The picture feels so raw and authentic, it captures a documentary-like feel that crawls into the darkest crevice of your brain and burrows itself into your permanent memory.  Vicki’s (Ashleigh Cummings) memory is permanently scarred when John and Evelyn choose her as their latest teen prize, and escape seems hopeless except for one psychological, long shot idea by playing the lovebirds against one another.  Creepy, intense and unforgettable, this Australian thriller truly is a frightening gem.  (Amazon Streaming)

⭐⭐⭐⭐  out of   ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) –  Sure, when one thinks of Australian thrillers, “Mad Max” are the first two words to come mind, and after a 30-year screen absence, Max (Tom Hardy) makes a triumphant return in a completely enthralling action picture which is far superior to its three predecessors.  Nearly the entire film plays out as a non-stop, mind-boggling chase through a barren Australian wasteland, and the action grabs you by the throat and periodically cuts off your air supply for two hours.  “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is very good, but Hardy and Charlize Theron star in the thrill ride of 2015! (Netflix DVD, Amazon Streaming)

⭐⭐⭐⭐  out of   ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“The Square” (2008) – This wild indie introduces us to a mild-mannered, married and middle-aged construction manager named Raymond Yale (David Roberts).  Raymond seems to enjoy a comfortable, straight-and-narrow existence, but he – unfortunately – has a young mistress (Claire van der Boom) who – “more unfortunately” – leads him to a terrible decision.  Subsequently, Raymond’s life is turned completely upside-down.  The end result?  This intense white-knuckler will have you rubbing your hands in angst and shaking your head in disbelief.  This is director Nash Edgerton’s first feature film, and Art House Film Wire is anxiously awaiting for his next!  His famous actor brother, Joel, co-wrote the screenplay and stars as a seedy supporting character. (Netflix Streaming and DVD, Amazon Streaming) 

⭐⭐⭐⭐  out of   ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image credits:  Sony Pictures Classics; Trailer credits (YouTube):  SonyPictureClassics

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