Animal Kingdom Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.8
Video 8.7
Audio 8.0
Special Features 8.0
Total 8.8

Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Reviewer: Peter Bourke
Classification
: MA15+

8.8


Animal Kingdom

If I could sum up this movie in one word, it would be wow...maybe throw in your colourful expletive before it. This is not just for the gritty realism but for it's engaging story and more importantly, the characters, thanks to the acting by all involved.

As opposed to the glamour and breast augmentation of Channel 9's Underbelly series, Animal Kingdom has this gritty real-world feel to it that even though some of the characters are quite despicable, the movie actually lets you deconstruct them in order to see the world from their point of view. More importantly, Animal Kingdom does not glamorise the world of criminals but shows us its dark black heart.

With that said, Animal Kingdom may not have been such a great movie if it was not without its cast that features some grade-A talent that includes Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn and Guy Pearce as some of the protagonists in this film. A special note should also be made to James Frechevile who really takes the viewer on a journey of innocent lost. Then you have director David Michod who manages to link several parallels to real-world crime figures and you could be mistaken in believing that these characters are actually the Moran family with crime matriarch Judy Moran replaced with Janine "Smurf" Cody portrayed amazingly by Jacki Weaver as their over protective mother.

The story of Animal Kingdom however begins with Joshua (James Frechevile) discovering his mother's overdosed body in their apartment. Not knowing what to do next, Joshua decides to contact his grandmother whom his mother had a very turbulent relationship with. Nonetheless, Janine opens her arms to him and her family and before you know it, Joshua becomes slowly indoctrinated into the world of crime, however he still manages to keep some normality into his life, thanks to this girlfriend.

As his uncles take Joshua under their "wings", we are soon introduced to Craig (Sullivan Stapleton), dope dealer, close friend Barry Brown (Joel Edgerton) and younger brother Darren (Luke Ford) who really doesn't want to be part of this world and prefers to smoking dope. Lastly we have older brother "Pope" (Ben Mendelsohn) who is currently in hiding from the police but when he shows his ugly head, he even causes tensions amongst the family.

With some great plot development along the way (no spoilers here), the "good" guy in the film Detective Leckie (Guy Pearce) who attempts to convince Joshua to turn against his family. In turn this creates a very interesting and quite shocking ending that I could not see coming. Yes, the majority of characters in this movie are quite unlikeable, especially "Pope" and Barry Brown but the shocking history of the characters will captivate you from start to finish that is like watching a train crash waiting to happen. Realism definitely has a new name here!

Audio/Video & Special Features

Presented in 16:9 widescreen, the Blu-ray version of Animal Kingdom boasts sharp images, deep blacks and quite a subdued colour palette that compliments the story nicely. With high definition sound, Animal Kingdom does have this movie feel to it but as it does not gloss things up, it helps in keeping the realism to a manageable level. Lastly, this disc has a plethora of special features  from commentary, a making of featurette and an interesting interview with Tom Noble, a crime writer who helps put the story into perspective. Recommended!

Cast audio commentary
The Making of ANIMAL KINGDOM
Director David Michôd's short film CROSSBOW
Interview with crime writer Tom Noble
Poster & Key Art Gallery
Original 30 second teaser
Theatrical trailer






 
 



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