Animal Kingdom

Director: David Michôd
Year Released: 2010
Rating: 2.0

When a young man's heroin-using Mum dies from an overdose, he's forced to turn to extended family for support ... and it just so turns out that his extended family is filled with criminal scum. This annoyingly fragmented narrative - Michôd tends to skip around - is compounded by a lack of a strong central figure: the boy (James Frecheville), reduced to looking sullen and barely able to emit complex sentences ("Yeah" and "No" are common), is surrounded by one-dimensional hoodlums, with the sole complex character being Jacki Weaver's family-first, ethics-later matriarch, who is malevolent and Machiavellian. It's a grim affair and says precious little about the nature of violence or the ineptitude of the police, so one of the only things to take from this, perhaps, is the notion that loyalty to one's screwed up family can and should only go so far.