Animal Kingdom (2010)

image hostDirected and written:  David Michôd
Producer:  Liz Watts

Composer: Antony Partos
Cinematographer:  Adam Arkapaw
Cast:  James Frecheville (Joshua ‘J’ Cody), Ben Mendelsohn (Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody), Guy Pearce (Det Snr Sgt Nathan Leckie), Jacki Weaver (Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody), Joel Edgerton (Barry ‘Baz’ Brown), Sullivan Stapleton (Craig Cody), Luke Ford (Darren Cody), Dan Wyllie (Ezra White), Anthony Hayes (Det Justin Norris), Laura Wheelwright (Nicky Henry), Mirrah Foulkes (Catherine Brown), Justin Rosniak (Det Randall Roache), Susan Prior (Alicia Henry), Clayton Jacobson (Gus Emery) and Anna Lise Phillips (Justine Hopper).

Release Date:  Premiered at Sundance Film Festival, January 2010

Synopsis from Official Press Kit:   Welcome to the Melbourne underworld, where tensions are building between dangerous criminals and equally dangerous police.  The Wild West played out on the city’s streets.  Armed robber Pope Cody (Ben Mendelsohn) is in hiding, on the run from a gang of renegade detectives who want him dead.  His business partner and best friend, Barry “Baz” Brown (Joel Edgerton) wants out of the game, recognising that their days of old school banditry are all but over.  Pope’s younger brother, the speed addicted and volatile Craig Cody (Sullivan Stapleton), is making a fortune in the illicit substances trade – the true cash cow of the modern criminal fraternity – while the youngest Cody brother, Darren (Luke Ford), naively navigates his way through this criminal world – the only world his family has ever known.  And into this world arrives their nephew, Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville).

Following the death of his mother, J finds himself living with his estranged family, under the watchful eye of his doting grandmother, Smurf (Jacki Weaver), mother to the Cody boys.  J quickly comes to believe that he is a player in this world.  But, as he soon discovers, this world is far larger and more menacing than the could ever imagine.  When tensions between family and police reach a bloody peak, J finds himself at the centre of a cold blooded revenge plot that turns the family upside down, and which also threatens to ensnare innocent bystanders such as his girlfriend, Nicky (Laura Wheelwright).  One senior cop, Nathan Leckie (Guy Pearce), must lure J into the police fold and then shepherd him through a complex minefield of witness protection, corrupt cops, slippery lawyers and a paranoid and vengeful underworld.

J comes to realise that in order to survive he must determine how the game is played – he must somehow choose his place in this cunning and brutal animal kingdom.  He must work out where he fits in.

Official Full Length Trailer


Official Site:



Film Festivals: 

  • United States Jan 22, 2010 (Sundance Film Festival) (premiere) 
  • United States Jun 2010 (Los Angeles Film Festival)  
  • Poland Jul 31, 2010 (Two Riversides Film and Art Festival)  
  • United Kingdom Nov 6, 2010 (Leeds International Film Festival)  
  • Spain Nov 21, 2010 (Gijón International Film Festival)  
  • Sweden Nov 25, 2010 (Stockholm International Film Festival)  
  • Greece Dec 5, 2010 (Thessaloniki International Film Festival)  
  • Morocco Dec 6, 2010 (Marrakech International Film Festival)  
  • United Kingdom Feb 13, 2011 (Keswick Film Festival)  
  • United Kingdom Feb 23, 2011 (Glasgow Film Festival)  
  • Hong Kong Mar 27, 2011 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)  
  • France Apr 2, 2011 (Beaune Film Festival)


  • Directors Guild2010 
    WON Best Direction in a Feature Film David Michôd 
  • Australian Writers’ Guild 2010 
  • Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, 2010

2nd place, BSFC Award, Best New Filmmaker – David Michôd 

  • Camerimage  
    • WON, Best Directorial Debut,  David Michôd 
    • WON, Best Cinematography Debut, Adam Arkapaw 
  • Chlotrudis Awards2011 

WON, Chlotrudis Award, Best Supporting Actress, Jackie Weaver                   

  • Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards, 2010 

2nd place, DFWFCA Award, Best Supporting Actress, Jackie Weaver     

  • Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, 2011 
    • WON, FCCA Award, Best Male Actor – Ben Mendelsohn 
    • WON, FCCA Award, Best Female Actor – Jackie Weaver 
    • WON, FCCA Award, Best Supporting Actor – Male – Joel Edgerton 
    • WON, FCCA Award, Best Director – David Michôd 
    • WON, FCCA Award,Best Film – Liz Watts(producer) 
    • WON, FCCA Award,Best Screenplay – David Michôd 
  • IF Awards, 2010
    • WON, IF Award, Best Direction – David Michôd 
    • WON, IF Award, Best Actor – Ben Mendelsohn 
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards2010

WON, LAFCA, Best Supporting Actress – Jackie Weaver 

  • National Board of Review, USA, 2010 
    • WON, NBR Award, Best Supporting Actress – Jackie Weaver 
    • WON, NBR Award, Top Independent Film 
  • National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA2011 

3rd Place, Best Supporting Actress, Jackie Weaver *tied with Melissa Leo for The Fighter 

  • New York Film Critics Circle Awards2010 

WON, NYFCC Award, Best First Film, David Michôd 

  • San Francisco Film Critics Circle, 2010 

WON, SFFCC Award, Best Supporting Actress – Jackie Weaver 

  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2011 

WON, Virtuoso Award – Jackie Weaver 

  • Satellite Awards, 2010 

WON, Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema – Dramatic, David Michôd 

Notable mention – Jackie Weaver nominated for an Academy Award 2010 as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama.  She lost out to Melissa Leo for The Fighter. 

Click Press Kit for production notes and cast bios

Click Reviews

Purchase soundtrack and digital copy at iTunes, Amazon, Amazon UK, JB-HiFi, Sanity and


VIDEO: David Michôd, Jackie Weaver, .@joeledgerton1 & Ben Mendelsohn finally shows up | .@MadmanFilms #AnimalKingdom Q&A

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