Movie of the Week: ‘Animal Kingdom’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week inspired a vastly successful television show, sort of like “MASH” (1970) did.  Robert Altman’s comedy classic, however, and “Animal Kingdom” (2010) have very little in common, except blood is spilled in both films…and television shows.

“Animal Kingdom” (2010) – The walls of justice close in on a Melbourne (Australia) bank-robbing family within a cloudy, confusing Shakespearean atmosphere.  Led by matriarch Janine Cody (Jacki Weaver), she and her kin decide to fight back with methods that they understand: revenge and betrayal.

At the center of the storm is a newly-orphaned 17-year-old, ‘J’ (James Frecheville), who feels the claustrophobic circumstances more than anyone, and we unfortunately share the brutal experience with him.  Weaver was rightly nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but the Academy inexplicably left Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Uncle Pope, off the Best Supporting Actor list.  Janine may be the mastermind of the family business, but Uncle Pope is the most sinister.

Writer/director David Michod’s jaw-dropping film debut begins with an unsettling opening, lulls you into a sense of comfort and repeatedly yanks you to the edge of your seat.  Hey, what do you expect when the walls of justice are closing in?

⭐⭐⭐⭐  out of  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image and Trailer Credits: Sony Pictures Classics

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