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Posts Tagged ‘drama’

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.

9/10

Young Adult directed by Jason Reitman; released in 2011

 

In the midst of depression, the best idea is definitely to realise that the person you love is back in your town of birth, happily married and now with child. Along with this, heavy drinking, hardly talking to your parents and discovering your career could be over, really puts the nail in the coffin of a life that is far from complete. Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gray, the writer but NOT creator of popular young adult series ‘Waverley Prep’ who, on checking her email stumbles across a picture that on closer inspection is the daughter of the man she has lusted for since she was a ‘Young Adult’. This film, much like Jason Reitman’s previous, ‘Juno’ and ‘Up in the Air’, contains comedy which is painfully truthful and cuts deep to the bone of not only the main characters but also you as a viewer. Content which is easily relatable to  many people make the picture all that more effective as a tool for funnelling what seems to be the writer’s (Diablo Cody) own personal history. This is what makes the film’s sad moments, which there are plenty of, tough viewing, with Mavis continually digging her own grave and actually contemplating destroying a marriage, the laughs are at her but with disdain. You want her to realise that her life isn’t totally down the pan, that she has more to live for and that it shouldn’t start with attempting to woo her childhood sweetheart who is set in a new life. What I most enjoy about Reitman films, apart from how good they are, is the scenes where characters are alone, performing something in their daily routine, this really allows you to see who they really are, adding depth and true meaning to scenes that contain dialogue. I really enjoyed the interactions between Charlize Theron and her co-star Patton Oswalt, these seemed as though they actually bared a childhood grudge, that through Mavis’ intent on securing a definite future with Buddy (Patrick Wilson) is broken and in the penultimate seen of the film sees them secure a life long friendship. Oswalt’s performance needs recognising though, as he is hilariously funny, blunt when need be and portrays the link between ‘Mini-Apple’ and Mavis’ home town problems very well. Charlize Theron is great as Mavis, she is as evil as she is in ‘Prometheus’ but has the soft side that she displays in ‘Italian Job: L.A. Heist’ (she plays mainly strong evil women, this is the only film I could think of – don’t watch it though) which rounds her into a character that you want to see succeed in life but not tear apart Buddy’s blossoming marriage. Patrick Wilson is childish, immature and stuck in his hometown, which makes his character hard to judge. Throughout the film you wonder whether or not he is going to leave with Mavis and complete her life back in the big city. Happily, the film comes to a climax, which isn’t surprising but welcomed. I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to fans of the main stars and the Director/Writer team of Reitman and Cody.

8/10