(MA) Madman DVD/BD
Critically acclaimed and internationally regarded, this Melbourne-set crime drama is grittier and weightier than some other TV series about Victoria’s underbelly.
Loosely based on real events, Animal Kingdom follows deceptively cluey teen J (excellent newcomer James Frecheville) as he is reluctantly ensnared in the family business after his mother ODs.
The Cody Clan, led by creepy matriarch “Smurf” (Jacki Weaver), is a well-known criminal outfit which is imploding due to police pressure (led by terrific Guy Pearce as a savvy detective).
Abundant in sterling performances, writer-director David Michod’s enterprise has a distinct difference from many crime films it is evidently influenced by. While humanising the Codys, Animal Kingdom never glorifies their vocation or conscious choice to maintain their law-breaking lifestyle.
How J is “groomed” by his relatives, or the suggestion of stopping their dodgy ways, is not considered an option should speak to you about how those around you can be affected by your behaviour.
The Codys’ modelling of destructive choices should have Christians racing back to the application point of Titus 2:7 — “You yourself must be an example to them by doing good deeds of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.”