Animal Kingdom – A swing and a miss

Rating (3 out of 5)

We watched this after reading Janes glowing review (Animal Kingdom), from the other day. Hoping to find that hidden gem from down under. I was so hopeful sitting down on the couch with my vodka tonic.

The movie starts off immediately with J Cody’s mom dying of a drug overdose. He watches a game show on the television as the paramedics are trying to save her. This was a memorable scene in the movie and sets the tone of the movie.

In general, I found the pacing of the movie fairly slow, and while you could see how it was going to develop, it just took time to get there. The pace of a movie is important to me. I want my interest to be kept either through engaging dialogue or events.

Even though the pace wasn’t there through the entire move, there were quality scenes. The scene where the girlfriend is killed by Pope (Ben Mendelsohn) was great. As Luke looked Pope drugged her and then suffocated her. Cody wanted to stop, but wouldn’t intercede and seemed to be scared of Pope. Another scene involves Craig Cody (Sullivan Stapleton) as he starts to lose his sanity and goes to a friend to get a gun and police scanner. The friend wants to help, but knows Craig is losing it and poses a risk to himself and his wife.

On the negative side, J seemed mentally challenged throughout the film. It was hard to determine if he was making a choice or if we just wasn’t that bright. Seemed to be a lot like the mentally challenged brother from Good Times.

They hint that Pope might be psychotic but don’t explicitly lay it our for you. They also don’t go further into Popes motivations. His relationship with his family and Baz,and his motiviations. Why do we become cop killers? Because he is a fanatic of his friends, or he has not other options.

Wasn’t sure why the cops killed Baz to begin the whole set of events. Seemed to me that it was only used to set the movie forward on its track. Then after the Cody’s killed the two police officers, the Cody’s are arrested, and Craig Cody starts losing his mind. This arc seemed odd, because during the killings and an earlier scene with J, he seemed very calm, nuts but calm. To me it was a little out of character for Craig to break like this and eventually get killed.

The best part of the movie was when the grandmother contacted their lawyer, and went through the logic of killing her grandson. The clarity of her thinking and rationale was chilling. Based on her character, you can see where someone saw the potential to make a TV series.

This is no where near a 5 out of 5. Jane we have to get you to watch more movies. Then to make your 10 ten list is just an indication we need to expose you to more movies. This is a solid movie but not great.