Monday, June 13, 2011

Animal Kingdom: A Crime Story

I watched an outstanding crime thriller over the weekend on Starz cable TV. The film was called Animal Kingdom: A Crime Story.

The Australian film was about an infamous crime family in Melbourne. The family consisted of three brothers and their mother, a loving and scheming sociopath.

The violent sons were armed robbers and drug dealers and the oldest son, Pope, was being hunted by a special police squad who were known to shoot known violent criminals to death. A corrupt cop tells Pope's friend and fellow criminal, Barry "Baz" Brown, that Pope should lay low as the special squad was about to be disbanded.

Pope, who has some mental issues, instead takes the police on and murders two young police officers.

Into the family mix comes "J," their 17-year-old nephew, who moves in after his mother dies from a drug overdose.

The film was directed by David Michod and featured an oustanding ensemble cast; including Ben Mendesohn, Joel Edgerton, Like Ford, Sullivan Stapleton, and Jacki Weaver who was truly outstanding as the Austrialian Ma Parker matriarch.

The actors were unknown to me, with the exception of Guy Pearce, who portrayed a detective who was investigating the violent brothers.

The film won the 2010 World Cinema Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and Jacki Weaver was nominated for best supporting actress at last year's Academy Award. The film also won a good number of Australian film awards.

The story was based on a true crime family in Melbourne. The Pettingil family was a notorious group of criminals who were armed robbers, drug dealers and cop killers and the film is a fictionalized version of their saga.

If you like realistic, fast-paced, well-written, well-directed, and well-acted crime thrillers, then I suggest you check out Animal Kingdom.    

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