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Animal Kingdom

Crime . Thriller . Drama

Following the death of his mother, J finds himself living with his estranged family, under the watchful eye of his doting grandmother, Smurf, mother to the Cody boys. J quickly comes to believe that he is a player in this world. But, as he soon discovers, this world is far larger and more menacing than he could ever imagine. J finds himself at the center of a cold-blooded revenge plot that turns the family upside down.

Actors: Joel Edgerton , Ben Mendelsohn , James Frecheville , Luke Ford , Guy Pearce , Paul Smits , Bryce Lindemann , Anthony Hayes , Daniel Wyllie , Sullivan Stapleton , Jacki Weaver
Directors: David Michôd
Release: 2010-06-03
More Info:
  • Amy Biancolli

    It's a remarkable film: A gritty, gut-churning, crime thriller based on a true story. Its greatness lies in its unwavering fidelity to human nature and the unstoppable laws of the wild.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    It's a distinctive, ominous and hypnotic work of cinema. Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Faultlessly acted by top Australian talent, including Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom marries heightened emotionality with cool contemporary style.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    A phenomenal debut feature with a terrific title, David Michôd's Animal Kingdom is both a study in Darwinian survival-in this case survival of the shrewdest-and a group portrait of ruthless predators in the underworld of Melbourne, Australia.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Don't be fooled: In this unpeaceable kingdom, the den mama is also ready to eat her young.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Bob Mondello

    First-time writer/director David Michod reportedly worked for eight years on his screenplay, deepening its tale of a violently dysfunctional family until its gangster conventions feel as if they're in the service of a modern-day Greek tragedy.

    NPR Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The naturalistic style Michod employs adds to the sense of dread.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Pam Grady

    This could have been a slick little thriller. Instead, it evolves into the unfolding of an epic tragedy.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • Stephen Holden

    The film's depiction of the raw fear lurking below the brothers' braggadocio is the most pronounced emotion in a movie whose focus on the personalities of its criminals suggests an Australian answer to "Goodfellas," minus the wise-guy humor.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    A contemplative crime drama with a high startlement quotient.

    Time Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    A densely textured moral universe that makes good on his metaphoric title-and in this case, the animals are perfectly willing to eat their young.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Animal Kingdom moves with a brisk efficiency - Michôd trusts the viewer and doesn't waste time with unnecessary back story - and the plot twists and turns at brutal speed.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Like "The Square," the startling Down Under noir released a few months ago, Animal Kingdom explores the down and dirty side of human nature, fraught with greed, suspicion, and betrayal.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Moira Macdonald

    All of the performances are skilled, and yet it's Weaver (a veteran screen, television and stage actress in Australia) who, in a smaller role, creates the character who stays with you.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Sara Vilkomerson

    Among the most gripping, well-paced, acted and directed, and generally thrilling of anything that I've seen (yet) this year.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    The choicest performance in Animal Kingdom is Weaver's sing-song sinister matriarch of the Cody clan, a cheery sort with the benign nickname "Mama Smurf."

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Noel Murray

    Animal Kingdom joins in the tradition of brutally unsentimental Australian crime dramas like "The Boys," in which the stakes are low, except to the people staring down the barrel of a gun.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Damon Wise

    A dark rites-of-passage story meets lethal Shakespearean drama, with low-key performances that artfully get under the skin.

    Empire Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    A naturalistic drama rich in psychology and attention to details. There's no glamour here, but one false move by anyone can result in death, so tension fills nearly every scene.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Most crime stories are content to simply exist, wallowing in their own base violence. But David Michôd's fierce debut takes the genre apart, finding a reason for the madness that propels it.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    The strength of Animal Kingdom is its slow-building fatalism; the criminals' luck runs out, but then finds depressing extension via an out-of-left-field collaborator. It's a movie that has very little faith in authority, not even in Guy Pearce's righteous detective. The only law here is Darwin's.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    In many ways, Animal Kingdom could have become a stylish but routine cops-and-robbers tale. Instead, Michôd shapes this film into a memorable character study about uncaged beasts.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Michelle Orange

    Because Animal Kingdom is so richly suffused with atmosphere and style, you could almost float right past the deficiencies in its story in an admiring trance.

    Movieline Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Writer-director David Michôd catches you in a vise and squeezes - hard.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    The film is shaky as a procedural, and the level of official corruption seems more Moscow than Melbourne. Yet as a fable of power, vengeance and betrayal it exerts a quiet, increasingly wicked pull, equivalent to that of the wrinkly but ruthless grandma.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Stephanie Merry

    The most troubling aspect of the story -- and its most compelling -- is the emphasis on banal, everyday life.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    You probably won't see a better directorial debut this year than David Michôd's Animal Kingdom.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Animal Kingdom isn't perfect: Some performance moments are over-ripe, and there's an episode of arbitrary cruelty that's excessively creepy.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    It's rooting against grandma that drives this violent, hardhearted film, and waiting for the pride of lions she's created to devour her that gives Animal Kingdom its animal energy.

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    Frightening stuff, and made all the more so because of how matter-of-factly by writer-director David Michôd plays it.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Andy Klein

    All very grim and unrelenting; Michôd generates some nail-biting suspense, though it's not the sort of experience that many people are likely to enjoy.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Early on, writer-director David Michôd serves up "Trainspotting"-like tricks and narration that is beguiling, if rarely apropos. But the actors are something.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Michael Atkinson

    Michôd wants a Greek epic but doesn't have the material. Animal Kingdom is a work of obvious ambition, and seeing a debut filmmaker swing for the fences like this is its own kind of moviehead satisfaction.

    Village Voice Full Review
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