Posts Tagged ‘crime’

Animal Kingdom directed by David Michôd; released in 2010

I’d been wanting to see this film for a while, not only due to the praise and hype surrounding it but also as I am a huge fan of both up and comer Joel Edgerton (Warrior) and legendary Australian actor Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential). Surprisingly it was neither of these actors who took my breath away but young James Frecheville in his début appearance on the big screen. Playing 17-year-old Joshua ‘J’ Cody, he is unfairly pushed into the life of a child growing up in a world motivated by crime and the constant feeling of someone looking over your shoulder; in this case, the police, fronted by Leckie (Pearce). What struck and at the same time astounded me most about James Frecheville was the confidence and on-screen presence of somebody who was just 18 years old at the time of filming. Playing a character who is repeatedly betrayed by his so-called ‘loving family’ until one day he finally decides to exact some needed revenge and set it straight, you get the feeling that the actors surrounding him looked on in awe as he stole the show. Mentally stable and at points brutally truthful you are completely able to grasp the troubles that have overshadowed the recent death of his young mother. Having to deal with a family constantly involved in drugs, bank robbery’s and keeping Pope; ‘J’s’ evil uncle, who goes to the extreme to ensure that he keeps himself out of prison, takes its toll on ‘J’ and his ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ girlfriend, Nicky. What I loved about this film was the way in which each member of the crime family were introduced and showed to be as evil as the next, most notably the discovery that ‘J’s’ grandmother is more than just his grandmother but a vital cog in the ‘Melbourne Crime Family’. A film that is violent, believable and at times very tough to watch, ‘Animal Kingdom’ really shows that to stay alive, you have to be able to think on your feet, cut all alliances and focus on keeping yourself safe. I was a little disappointed about not being able to see more of Edgerton but sometimes, it is what it is and his role in the film is needed and without his performance could have been far less believable. The real-time look of the picture also added to the dark atmospheric feel that surrounded anything that went on; this was parallel to the echoing music that seemed to shake the entire soul of ‘J’ throughout. Guy Pearce is clinical, demanding and heroic as the only man who seems to want this vile family brought to justice. Having to put up with corrupt police and at times an undecided ‘J’, it seemed as though he was starting to lose his mind, which needs to thank his overall performance, as it was a great highlight. A completely expected but at the same time shocking ending really helped to round off the dismantling of a family that broke it’s promises and threatened to ruin the life of a young boy. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Animal Kingdom’ and would recommend it to fans of crime dramas and Australian Cinema.