Film Review: Animal Kingdom [dir. David Michôd; 2010]
Crime sagas often work well when they're told from the point of view of someone on the periphery of the main action. In this case, it's 17-year-old Josh who's just become an orphan and turns to his grandmother and uncles for support. Unfortunately for him, they're heavily involved with violent crime, which compels him to have to decide the direction in which he wishes to take his own life. Punctuated by several surprising twists and refreshingly devoid of cliches, Animal Kingdom strikes an admirable balance between cranking up the tension and presenting an engaging character study. James Frecheville as Josh and Jacki Weaver as the inscrutable matriarch are quite superb, as is the evocation of the Australian setting. A triumph.