Animal Kingdom is an Australian movie from 2010 set in the criminal world of suburban Melbourne. The focus of the story is on 17 year old Josh and his involvement with his criminal family headed by matriarch, and his Grandmother, Janine played by Jackie Weaver. James Frecheville plays Josh with a sense of detachment from his circumstances and the environment he finds himself in following the drug induced death of his mother.
Ben Mendelsohn plays psychotic uncle Pope with real believability and he shows Josh the reality of the family’s life of crime that Janine oversees beatifically.
Guy Pearce also features as an uncorrupted Police Officer who tries to do the right by thing by Josh, despite corrupt fellow officers and intimidating family members.Everything is underplayed and this creates an observational viewpoint that allows an amost voyeuristic appreciation as the story unfolds.
If this movie was set in Boston and starred a Hollywood A-lister it would be more widely appreciated. As it is this movie is a well executed and naturalistic slice of the realities of grubby crime, grubby families and amoral family leaders.