Animal Kingdom (2010)

14 May 2016

emotional resonance
empathy and sympathy

fresh perspective

immersive atmosphere
fitting soundtrack

acceptable suspense (developments predicted minutes before)
exceptional suspense (developments not predicted)

untraceable (natural) acting


With the real situations that inspired this movie baring some essential similarities in mind, this film portrayed a coming-of-age story in a most obscene way and gross police incompetence. We get to see step by step how J loses all his connections to his dysfunctional family, his friend, his safety, his faith in the authorities and the common world, and can’t help but take matters into his own hands - and eventually ‘bang’ becomes a killer.

And along the way, we see the police fail again and again at doing their job, despite some level of good intentions. It is still shocking to me that the police out right murdered Baez in plain sight without a probable cause (I had to go on wikipedia to make sure I did not see things wrong). At what cost? Deaths of two young cops and the whole bloody ordeal. Wrong as it was, but how would anyone expect sociopathical criminals to behave differently when you kill their ‘family’/’friend’? A similar thing with the paranoid guy. Sure he had a shotgun in his hand, but I don’t recall a warning what so ever (there might’ve been a warning shot, but without words how can anyone tell the difference between bad aiming and no intention to kill?). Then came to the matter of J. The detectives in charge made no attempt to reconcile the fact that they need his help and can offer him safety and peace of mind early on. They simply exploited him for questioning because of his youth and inexperience. And when they do want to show protection (and only AFTER they fail to get answers they wanted… what the hell are they thinking? what kind of position did they think they are putting J in with respect to his crime family in case he’s naive enough to blindly collaborate?), they prove to be absolutely useless (showing up at a bowling alley when the poor girlfriend is present and walking with him in public, actually failed to protect the witness due to assorted corruption…) Next they are apparently unable to distinguish between OD and asphyxiation. And that cop on the transport cart to raises his unloaded gun on J,… signals to him exactly how worthless he is to the authorities and the rest of the world. It is us who abandoned him.

The bathroom breakdown (when J realizes that his life is at his own hands now) was pretty good acting.