Monday, February 7, 2011

Animal Kingdom

David Michôd, Australia, 2010 (8.8*)
Sundance, Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema
Powerful story of a crime family in Melbourne, Australia is director David Michôd's first film. The incredibly complex script with terrific dialogue was re-written several times by Michod over a six year period before filming, and it shows.

The story involves J, a teenager played by newcomer James Frecheville just out of high school, whose mom overdoses in the first scene. With no alternatives, he goes to live with grandma Jacki Weaver, who turns in a mind-blowing performance. She is basically the leader of an organized gang of her four sons that does armed robberies, all uncles of J's and unsure how much to let him know.

What follows is J's introduction to the family trade, and their running battle with the Armed Robbery Squad of the city police, which is now operating beyond the law and performing their own hits on suspects without bothering for arrests. This is a chilling story reminiscent of L.A. Confidential, but a bit more realistic, being placed in an unspecified 80's time period, a time when Machod had moved to Melbourne and "was reading lots of true crime articles" which inspired this story (in an interview on the dvd). Veteran actor Guy Pearce (Memento, The Proposition, L.A. Confidential) plays a smooth police detective building evidence against the brothers, who thinks J may give up some information if bothered enough.

Jacki Weaver has 12 nominations for either lead or supporting actress so far for her incredible performance as the mother from hell, who supports her boys' life of crime, yet who is still loving and likeable. I hope she wins the Oscar® for supporting actress, she's simply unforgettable, and has likely turned in the performance of her long career. The film has already won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for World Cinema.
Check out all hers and the film's nominations here


Anonymous,  February 9, 2011 at 10:31 AM  

Great review!

Here's hoping Jacki "You've done some bad things, Sweetie" gets the nod!

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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