Animal Kingdom Reviews

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Arizona Republic: “The naturalistic style Michod employs adds to the sense of dread.” 

At The Movies (David Stratton):  “Deservedly won the World Cinema Jury prize at Sundance earlier this year, and confirms that Michod is an important new talent.” 

Boston Globe:  “You probably won’t see a better directorial debut this year than David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom.” 

Boxoffice Magazine:  “This could have been a slick little thriller. Instead, it evolves into the unfolding of an epic tragedy.” 

Cantstopthemovies:  “This is David Michod’s first film and it’s very much in the Scorsese vein of directing (especially with the way Michod uses the soundtrack) which isn’t bad company to be in.  I’m looking forward to more great work from you Mr. Michod.”   

Chicago Reader:  “A densely textured moral universe that makes good on his metaphoric title-and in this case, the animals are perfectly willing to eat their young.” 

Empire:  “A dark rites-of-passage story meets lethal Shakespearean drama, with low-key performances that artfully get under the skin.” 

Entertainment Weekly:   “Don’t be fooled.  In this unpeaceable kingdom, the den mama is also ready to eat her young.” 

Film Comment:  “Seldom is a debut feature handled with such assurance and intelligence.” 

LA Times:  “Animal Kingdom” is an art house crime saga that will put your heart in your mouth, a moody, brooding, modern-day film noir that marks the impressive debut of an Australian writer-director who knows how to make a film that is, in his own words, “dark and violent yet beautiful and poetic at the same time. That would be David Michod, a compelling creator of story and atmosphere whose assured film, which took the highly competitive world cinema jury prize at Sundance, manages to be both laconic and operatic.” 

Miami Herald:  “Animal Kingdom moves with a brisk efficiency – Michôd trusts the viewer and doesn’t waste time with unnecessary back story – and the plot twists and turns at brutal speed.” 

Movieline:  “Because Animal Kingdom is so richly suffused with atmosphere and style, you could almost float right past the deficiencies in its story in an admiring trance.” 

New York Observer:  “Among the most gripping, well-paced, acted and directed, and generally thrilling of anything that I’ve seen (yet) this year.” 

New York Post“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.” 

NPR:  “First-time writer/director David Michod reportedly worked for eight years on his screenplay, deepening its tale of a violently dysfunctional family until its gangster conventions feel as if they’re in the service of a modern-day Greek tragedy.” 

NYDailyNews:  “Most crime stories are content to simply exist, wallowing in their own base violence. But David Michôd’s fierce debut takes the genre apart, finding a reason for the madness that propels it.”   

NYMag:  “Early on, writer-director David Michôd serves up “Trainspotting”-like tricks and narration that is beguiling, if rarely apropos. But the actors are something.”   

Philadelphia Inquirer:  “Like “The Square,” the startling Down Under noir released a few months ago, Animal Kingdom explores the down and dirty side of human nature, fraught with greed, suspicion, and betrayal.” 

RogerEbert.comThe director/writer David Michôd does not exactly break new ground in the genre, but his first feature film is a good example of crime thrillers we rarely come across nowadays. Rather than typical flashy crime actions we usually expect from this genre, his gritty noir tale is mainly fueled by the characters and the intense moments between them. With steady maintenance of the languid atmosphere and the foreboding sense of dread and doom well conveyed by moody, atmospheric score, the movie takes its time to grow the uneasy tension behind the scenes.” 

Rolling Stone“Writer-director David Michôd catches you in a vise and squeezes — hard.”“Michôd depicts a realm of ruthless predation and survival. But it’s a distinctive, ominous and hypnotic work of cinema.” 

San Francisco Chronicle“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.”  “What ultimately assures Animal Kingdom of not merely greatness, but candidacy to classic status, is that it never loses its focus or relents.”   

Sight&Sound:  “writer-director David Michôd’s ambitious and, on the whole, effective thriller ” 

The Age:  “Michod gives us a conclusion that is simultaneously shocking, decisive and ambiguous; one that exemplifies the unsettling richness of the film.” 

The A.V. Club: “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.” 

The Globe & Mail (Toronto):  “Animal Kingdom isn’t perfect: Some performance moments are over-ripe, and there’s an episode of arbitrary cruelty that’s excessively creepy.  At worst, though, the scale of Michôd’s ambitions seems at odds with the meanness of the characters. That’s a small flaw in a debut film, and it promises even more powerful work to come.” 

The Guardian:  “Animal Kingdom is skilfully lit and edited and the performances are remarkable.” 

The Sydney Morning Herald:  “Animal Kingdom is like Greek tragedy, fuelled by cocaine and numbed by heroin.” 

THR:  “A naturalistic drama rich in psychology and attention to details. There’s no glamour here, but one false move by anyone can result in death, so tension fills nearly every scene.” 

The New York Times:  “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.” 

Time: “A contemplative crime drama with a high startlement quotient.” 

Time Out New York: “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.” 

UrbanCine:  “Involving and throbbing with well sustained tension, Animal Kingdom is something special in Australian filmmaking and a knockout debut from David Michôd.” 

Village Voice:  “First-time writer/director David Michôd’ limns a dank and lost family history in just these few barely conscious gestures, and the toxic fumes of inherited misery fill your head.” 

Wall Street Journal“A phenomenal debut feature with a terrific title, David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom is both a study in Darwinian survival-in this case survival of the shrewdest-and a group portrait of ruthless predators in the underworld of Melbourne, Australia.” 

For loads more reviews head over to IMDb here

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