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Warning you about crappy movies since 2008.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Animal Kingdom

Pity the teenage "J," who goes to live with his grandmum and uncles after his mum dies of a heroine overdose.

Grandma Smurf is not your archetypal grandma. She's a tart who's a big player in an Australian crime syndicate, and she controls every move -- hardly any of them legal -- her adult sons make. Jacki Weaver is criminally good in her role as matriarch/criminal mastermind. And, J may as well be another foot soldier in her gun-toting, drug-dealing army.

The only actor better than Weaver is James Frecheville, the lad who plays J. He goes from naive to dumbstruck to bewildered to enraged and is never less than 100 percent believable, although he's in an unbelievable predicament.

The audience finds out, at the same time J does, just how sociopathic most of this family is. Yet, they're the only family he's got. His choices become more and more limited as the film progresses -- and as more and more of his seeming allies get bumped off.

It's good to see Guy Pearce on screen again, although his role as a benevolent police officer is small. J must struggle to figure out if he should remain loyal to his trigger-happy family or trust this policeman who offers him safety. With his family's connections, is safety even possible?

Gripping, twisted and compelling from start to finish. See it!

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