Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 101 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Tells the story of seventeen year-old J (Josh) as he navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. It's a remarkable film: A gritty, gut-churning, crime thriller based on a true story. Its greatness lies in its unwavering fidelity to human nature and the unstoppable laws of the wild.
  2. Don't be fooled: In this unpeaceable kingdom, the den mama is also ready to eat her young.
  3. The film's depiction of the raw fear lurking below the brothers' braggadocio is the most pronounced emotion in a movie whose focus on the personalities of its criminals suggests an Australian answer to "Goodfellas," minus the wise-guy humor.
  4. 83
    Animal Kingdom joins in the tradition of brutally unsentimental Australian crime dramas like "The Boys," in which the stakes are low, except to the people staring down the barrel of a gun.
  5. The strength of Animal Kingdom is its slow-building fatalism; the criminals' luck runs out, but then finds depressing extension via an out-of-left-field collaborator. It's a movie that has very little faith in authority, not even in Guy Pearce's righteous detective. The only law here is Darwin's.
  6. 75
    The film is shaky as a procedural, and the level of official corruption seems more Moscow than Melbourne. Yet as a fable of power, vengeance and betrayal it exerts a quiet, increasingly wicked pull, equivalent to that of the wrinkly but ruthless grandma.
  7. Michôd wants a Greek epic but doesn't have the material. Animal Kingdom is a work of obvious ambition, and seeing a debut filmmaker swing for the fences like this is its own kind of moviehead satisfaction.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. Aug 15, 2010
    10
    When the credits rolled, I sat there stunned with this goofy grin on my face. This was easily one of the best 3 or 4 movies I've seen this year, and I see a bunch of 'em. It's so rich and so layered that I don't even want to discuss much of it in detail. It's a movie about a Melbourne family known for taking down banks, but it's more specifically about a young family member's learning to survive in the animal kingdom. The acting is uniformly superb. The writing does away with all of the hackneyed scenes we've seen a thousand times before. There's no need for the courtroom scene, or that of the young grieving widow, or funerals. We've been there. The story is like an extremely taut dramatic rope that gets tweaked about every 15 minutes or so. It was just one hell of a refreshing film. Do what you can to see this thing. Not everyone in my crew loved it as much as I did, but we talked about it continuously for about a half hour when it was over. This has been a tough year for quality movies - don't let the choice steak slip through your fingers (as someone once told me). Expand
  2. Sep 4, 2010
    10
    I rarely give films a score of 10, but I feel compelled to with this one as it is probably one of the best crime movies I've ever seen. The plot was rich, complicated and fast paced with well placed and not to over the top action/violent scenes that keeps you at the edge of your seat. At the same time, there was extremely good character development for a good number of the cast--rare and difficult to accomplish with more than one or two people--but Animal Kingdom does it for about 4 or 5 of the characters. Best movie of the year--yes, it is better than Inception! Expand
  3. Apr 13, 2011
    10
    Relentless, powerful and utterly compelling - without a doubt the best film I've seen all year, this film is Shakespearean in its ambition and in the tragic arc of the story, featuring an incredible performance by first-time actor James Frecheville in the role of a young man dropped into the heart of a criminal family which is about to be torn apart. The characters are beautifully, yet economically drawn; the cinematography is precise, the action evolves with intensity, there's humour and there's despair. Music is used sparingly but effectively, and the key actors' performances are often low key but always true. Expand
  4. Sep 7, 2010
    9
    One of the better films of the year. This is a noir crime drama. It is focused on one family, primarily, while developing all the characters and then allowing us to watch their unraveling. Expect no blockbuster nor made for TV action. The characters were well cast and worked as a tight ensemble. Not sure why there is that much mention of Inception in the other reviews. It certainly was a decent movie but it was destined as a dazzling blockbuster.Therefore, it is a movie and not a 'film' in my opinion. Expand
  5. Feb 3, 2014
    9
    Electric, unsettling film. I see other reviewers comparing it to The Godfather, which is high praise indeed. Jacki Weaver is downright unnerving as the crime family matriarch. Expand
  6. Nov 8, 2012
    7
    Has moments of greatness, despite a weak premise and some boring stretches. The performances are also excellent, especially from Jacki Weaver as the mother. Expand
  7. Jun 26, 2011
    1
    I WISH I had THAT 2 hours of my life back!! What in the WORLD were the majority of those leaving reviews here actually watching? Did they merely review the trailer? Poor character development, lacks the basis of a plot, drags on and on and on, and....pretty much....Sucks! The ONLY reason to watch this is to continuously wonder "what's going to happen next?". Well...let me spoil it for you...Nothing! NOTHING happens with the exception of a twist during the last 10 seconds of the movie. Since you won't develop a fondness for the characters anyway and you'll be wondering to yourself "what's the point?" throughout the film, if you must watch this film; watch the first 10 minutes and the last 10 seconds. This movie was ALMOST as thrilling as Blair Witch. Certainly not as entertaining as Snatch, Kill The Irishman, or The Usual Suspects but this turd (I'm sure) received better reviews than any of those films. Just because it's a "Directorial debut" doesn't mean a film should be wholly lacking. Expand

See all 31 User Reviews

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