Animal Kingdom (2010)

Animal Kingdom
Written and directed by David Michôd
(number 345)

I’m like, didn’t I already watch this film? But it was called Romper Stomper? I mean. How many gritty criminal underworld films have to be on this list? Does covering the nasty lives of violent people automatically make a movie worthy? Maybe it’s more American History X… but still. It feels at this point, like ground I’ve already covered.

That said, I do enjoy a well made Australian arthouse film. Noise is my favourite of all time, but the way they’re made: minimal background music, the tight handheld camera angles, the colour palette used. This is a pretty film, the way it’s made if not the subject matter.

Okay so my favourite character is killed to motivate the main character, I understand that. It’s sad, and it sucks, but when they used “I’m all out of love” to illustrate how sad it is I had to laugh. It’s such an over the top song, and I have to think they did it to be funny intentionally. Especially with the implications of the scene immediately after (possible rape attempt). This movie isn’t as gritty/dark as Romper Stomper, for which I am grateful. People are killed but it’s generally a bit removed from the pov, often happening off camera entirely or in the distance. Their is a lot of implied nastiness but not much shown.

Does it make me love the people? Uncle Baz gives the cops watching the house flowers, so I loved him right off. Yeah, the way they are with each other, joking and affectionate- the gang is loveable. Aside from Pope…

The main character is so blank though, which I think is intentional. His default expression was mostly what we got throughout the film and he had very little warmth to him. Ultimately it worked because as things came to a head you didn’t know which way he’d go.

Guy Pearce is one of my favourite actors so I was hanging out for him to turn up. When he did, he had an awful moustache and it’s honestly just the best.

Bechdel test: we have Janine and Nicole… but they pretty much just talk to the men, not each other. Janine talks to Helen (her neighbour) but it’s about a man on TV so I don’t think that counts either. Janine is a great character, seriously. She possibly passes some other kind of bad ass, plot driving woman character test, but overall the film is masculine focused and the Bechdel isn’t passed.

Best line:

Pope: That’s a bit of a gay shirt, are you gay?
Darren: Fuck off.
It’s a serious question, I’m comfortable with your lifestyle. I just want you to talk to me about it.

State of Mind: Like. Yeah, I sort of figured what would happen. It’s bleak stuff. The whole ethics vs family loyalty conundrum which as I mentioned previously has been covered in movies like Romper Stomper and American History X. My experience of those films let me understand the shape of this story and in fact predict the plot twists. Overall, I think this was a really good movie but not necessarily one I enjoyed or will seek out again.

Watched movie count


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