User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 101 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 90 out of 101
  2. Negative: 4 out of 101

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  1. Aug 13, 2010
    This little Australian movie is a class above every other film I have seen this year...'and yes, that does include the much over-hyped Inception'! With its tiny budget and mostly unknown cast, it does what few movies can, it presents a completely realsitic crime world and a family lost and swimming deep in its depths. The acting is amazing and the tension created through the interactions of this 'family' is nail bitingly tense at the best of times. Its the first movie in ages that I inhaled as it started and exhaled as the credits rolled...ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! Expand
  2. Aug 15, 2010
    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
  3. Sep 11, 2010
    Crime thriller from Australia is one of the best movies ever. Riveting performances from Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver and an amazing debut for James Frecheville, plus a decent turn from Guy Pearce should make this film a major awards contender at the end of the year. Definitely deserves lots of Oscar consideration, for best picture and acting for the three leads. If you like gritty, heart-pounding drama, do NOT miss this film. Expand
  4. Apr 7, 2011
    I must be in the minority here but this dark family crime drama didn't do it for me at all.I thought it was slow and tediously annoying.The lead character Josh played by James Frenchville I didn't think the kid could act.It seemed he didn't have much to say or any emotion when he said anything.I saw where somebody had said that this was the Australian version of The Town and I couldn't disagree stronger with that.The Town is way better in every respect.I found myself looking at the clock wondering when this thing is going to be over.I can't recommend this one though it seems just about everybody else loved it..4/10. Expand
  5. Aug 15, 2010
    I was incredibly impressed with this movie. It was very dark. The script was very well pieced together. The cast had chemistry, Jackie Weaver played a sensational role which demanded the audience's attention throughout the feature. Guy Pearce stood up and showed the class he has as an actor. Favorite film of the year so far.
  6. Aug 17, 2010
    Animal Kingdom is one of those rare beauties of film, a dark and at times harrowing portrait of a crime family in demise that allows you to feel as though you are right there with them in their rather sad, violent world. This is an analysis of the psyche of the family rather than a pure action flick, but when the action scenes arrive they hit you with a force that will take your breath away. The performances are uniformly superb, and it will be a crime greater than those portrayed in the film if Ben Mendleson & Jackie Weaver are not nominated for Oscars. They are two of the best acting performances you will ever see. This film may not be for everyone, but I can guarantee you will not forget it in a hurry. One of the best films I have ever seen. Do whatever you can to see this film. Expand
  7. Oct 7, 2010
    A phenomenal accomplishment, absolutely remarkable as a debut. Totally riveting as it methodically unfolds, and it's quite unpredictable. The Aussies have done it again.
  8. Sep 4, 2010
    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
  9. Nov 3, 2010
    A thriller from Australia with a muscle. Fantastic performances all around with young James Frecheville in only his second feature film delivers a mature performance and carries the film through an emotional roller-coaster of a Greek style tragedy. The inspired score adds to the drama and the direction of David Michod deserves many awards.
  10. Jan 7, 2011
    Australia's version of 'the Town', but superior, expelling the clichés. The subject family exudes history and abusive chemistry. Grim. Compelling. Harrowing. Satisfying. 10.
  11. Nov 30, 2010
    I really, really liked this movie. Original, very realistic, shocking, unpredictable, great acting, and the list goes on. This was not a Hollywood glamorized crime family, this was the real deal. I'm going to add it to my library when it is released on BluRay.
  12. Apr 13, 2011
    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
  13. Apr 23, 2011
    Limited character development left me feeling completely detached from the film. Grandiose direction and camera shots felt out of place to the simplistic and linear story. Watch "A Prophet" (2009) instead.
  14. Jun 26, 2011
    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
  15. Mar 9, 2012
    One of the most accomplished Australian films in recent memory, 'Animal Kingdom' is a tale which follows the story of a young man as he's thrust into the life of crime and relentless violence. The performances in this movie are ALL outstanding but kudos must go towards Jacki Weaver who portrays the family matriarch struggling to keep her boys on a tight leash. It's no surprise to hear she was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Janine 'Smurf' Cody. A small and limited budget doesn't always equal bad flick. Expand
  16. Aug 1, 2012
    I think I went into this film with the wrong mind set and thus didn't enjoy it all that much. From the plethora of glowing reviews, I assumed this would be an amazing crime drama(as the genre indicates). Thus when I was presented with a very dark character drama, I was a bit taken back (there is very little "crime" in the genre sense, contained in it). You are thrust, much like the main character, into this world and forced to witness a series of very dark events. That's about all you experience though. For a character based drama, the characters were shockingly not very well developed. The fact that the lead character is nearly mute the entire film doesn't help matters and in the end I didn't feel a connection to anyone or anything. The plot was compelling and the acting was good, so despite its flaws I give it a 5/10. Since I'm in the minority I'd definitely recommend you check it out for yourself though. Expand
  17. Dec 8, 2012
    There were a lot of great films from 2010, but none left an impression on me quite like this film did. Brilliant. Perfectly acted (especially Jacki Weaver), great writing, excellent use of music... overall just a great film that has become one of the favorite films of 2010.
  18. Sep 10, 2010
    This review contains spoilers. The dead woman on the couch, she may not look like a candidate for mother of the year, but don't let her death by misadventure fool you. Joshua's mother, a heroin addict, was indeed a heroine, a lioness who protected her cub from the other lions back home, maneaters all, unafraid to devour their own kind, even the young, as it turns out, when the circumstances surrounding the Cody family change, prompting the familial animals to reveal themselves for what they are, survivalists, who abide by the law of the wild; kill or be killed. Joshua(James Frecheville), the orphaned cub, under the persuasion of fake maternal love, is slow to distinguish friend from foe, although once the boy learns how to spot a predator, he adjusts to their backhanded maneuvers and goes on the offensive, but not before his initial naivety toward wild beasts, both male and female, results in a senseless, thoroughly preventable death. Mother might have been a junkie, but mother knew best. While the nature/nurture debate rages on, in "Animal Kingdom", nurture wins. It's Joshua's environment that turns him into a killer; he learns then unlearns the pack mentality, he adapts, just in the nick of time, before blind loyalty finishes him off. "Animal Kingdom" fascinates. This pack he runs with is no ordinary pack. Like any group of wild beasts, the Cody family is led by an alpha male(Barry, played by Joel Edgerton), and a contender to the throne(Pope, played by Ben Mendelsohn), but actually it's Janine(Jacki Weaver), the den mother, Joshua's grandma, who turns out to be the fiercest of them all. The boy may be family, but he's been away for far too long a period; he's an outsider, and during the interim of his estrangement, the years in which Janine's sons, Joshua's uncles, had made themselves known to the police, this seemingly warm-hearted old woman forgot her grandson's scent. After the betrayal, the moviegoer backtracks to that expository scene where Joshua first meets the family in grandma's living room. From the kitchen, Janine runs the blender, it's the buzzsaw that Joshua never hears; he misses the foreboding cacophony, accepting the domestic noise at face value. Collapse
  19. Sep 7, 2010
    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
  20. Oct 3, 2010
    After an adolescent boy watches his mother OD, he goes to live with his grandmother and her 4 bank-robbing sons. As the police put on the pressure, we watch the family deteriorate and the young man try to stay afloat. This Australian import has a quiet intensity: sometimes it's just ominous music and others it's slow camera creeps. Either way, it adds the illusion of a tragic undercurrent. While it's not as intense as it promises, it's still an absorbing examination. Expand
  21. Feb 5, 2011
    Gritty contemporary crime drama directed with plenty of twists and turns, many of which are physically startling. A modern day greek tragedy full of great performances, especially from Jacki Weaver.
  22. Jan 1, 2011
    Brilliant crime drama. The closest thing I can compare it to is The Sopranos. A family is at the heart of the story but there is so much going on under the surface in every scene. Jacki Weaver and Guy Pearce are great but James Frecheville steals the show on his debut. That the writer/directior is also making his debut with work of this quality makes David Michod a name to look out for in future. A must see film that shows how much great work is being done outside Hollywood. Expand
  23. May 16, 2011
    The 'Godfather' of the 21st century.

    I actually cared about the protagonist and could literally feel my heart beating during the finale.

    After seeing the imbecilic 'Blue Valentine', I had starting to think I might have begun hating movies, but the next day, I saw this.
  24. Mar 27, 2012
    I happened on this by accident. I'd heard a great deal about Jacki Weavers performance but never really sought out the film. This rivals the Godfather. It's gritty and unpretentious in it's approach to the screenplay. The screenplay is one of the best of 2010. Everything in this film works except perhaps the music which at times becomes over bearing. The performances are all well done with quite a few stand outs. It's a perfect ensemble piece. This is a film that would make a great adaption to the stage. Jacki Weaver tears up the screen. Expand
  25. j30
    Sep 22, 2011
    A really good gangster movie. Jackie Weaver gives a chilling performance as Janine 'Smurf' Cody.
  26. Aug 11, 2014
    A truly great crime drama/thriller. David Michod's direction of this one is stupendous. Across the board, the acting is phenomenal. James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Sullivan Stapleton, Luke Ford, etc etc, the list goes on, just great. The story is dark, bleak, and unrelenting, but is very engaging and interesting. In this one, if something can go wrong, it will, is undeniably the case as things get darker and darker throughout. The drama is very well done, thanks to a great script, which develops all of the characters very well and makes them very realistic and authentic. In addition, the ending is fantastic. The beginning is admittedly slow (not boring, but certainly slower), but the It really hits you right in the face and leaves you shell shocked. I wish this one got more attention, because it is certainly worthy of praise. Expand
  27. Nov 8, 2012
    Has moments of greatness, despite a weak premise and some boring stretches. The performances are also excellent, especially from Jacki Weaver as the mother.
  28. Oct 2, 2013
    This is alright at best. It`s pretty slow at times. I only liked it cause I like movies about people living real lives, but I found nothing special about this movie besides being a bunch of Australians.
  29. Jun 14, 2013
    This is maybe the nearest we're going to get to an Australian "GoodFellas" (1990). Australian filmmaker David Michôd making his feature directorial debut from his own script finds moments of muted horror in these lives gone astray, starting right out of the gate. An excellent Aussie crime drama thoroughly deserving of its across-the-board rave reviews.

    Seventeen year-old Joshua Cody
    (James Frecheville) is suddenly on his own after his mother dies from an overdose and has no place to stay. He is taken in by his grandmother Smurf (Jacki Weaver). She is the matriarch of a notorious Melbourne crime family, further consisting of her four sons Andrew (Ben Mendelsohn) Craig (Sullivan Stapleton), Darren (Luke Ford), and Baz (Joel Edgerton), all of whom are armed criminals. Melbourne's Armed Robbery Squad is after specifically Pope, who is hiding out. When Baz is murdered, the family's voice of reason is gone, and the unstable Pope takes the lead in the family's hierarchy. Nathan Leckie (Guy Pearce) is a police detective who has found out who Joshua is and what he knows. He tries to convince the teenager to help him put the family behind bars. Joshua isn't certain about his loyalties to these outlaws, who he hardly knows, which are also his blood. Michôd's film combines the shock of sudden plot turns with a slow burn, leading to the inevitable horror that plays up the emotional cost of violence.

    Utterly thrilling, "Animal Kingdom" exudes stunning depth and complexity. Packed with characters so chillingly, casually evil that it will linger with you for days. Fantastic performances all around. "Animal Kingdom" was an official selection at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the World Cinema Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature.
  30. Feb 3, 2014
    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.

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Feb 21, 2011
    A dark rites-of-passage story meets lethal Shakespearean drama, with low-key performances that artfully get under the skin.
  2. Reviewed by: Moira Macdonald
    All of the performances are skilled, and yet it's Weaver (a veteran screen, television and stage actress in Australia) who, in a smaller role, creates the character who stays with you.
  3. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    All very grim and unrelenting; Michôd generates some nail-biting suspense, though it's not the sort of experience that many people are likely to enjoy.