Billy Gray

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Mendelsohn’

Animal Kingdom

In Movie Reviews on September 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm

The criminal underworld is a murky place.  It’s filled with gangsters with ulterior motives; scheming molls; tenuous, shifting allegiances; and well-laid plans gone awry. The Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom doesn’t attempt to sort out this mess. But instead of feeling accurately inaccurate, David Michôd’s film winds up more muddled than its thorny subject.

A good gangster movie needs a protagonist to corrupt. Here it’s J (a stolid, forgettable James Frecheville), whose mom ODs in the opening scene, leaving him in the care of his drug-running, gun-toting extended family. The cops are after J’s uncle, “Pope” (Ben Mendelsohn), who comes out of hiding to have the usual ragtag crew of fools do his sinister bidding. This includes gunning down a couple of police officers after the authorities shoot Barry (Joel Edgarton), an underling who was on the verge of giving up the game and becoming an upstanding citizen. Needless to say, things go downhill until the very last frame.

Animal Kingdom plays like a highlight real of mob saga components. Cocaine is hoovered. Blood splatters over rental-white walls. And inane Top 40 songs make for jarring background music to the violent mayhem. But the film doesn’t feel like a knockoff. It might have been great, instead of very good, if it had. Read the rest of this entry »