Thursday 7 April 2011

An Australian Allegory

Leaving the main theatre at Hereford's Courtyard after the showing of Animal Kingdom last night, the atmosphere among the audience was muted. Animal Kingdom was not a comfortable film to watch and the world it depicts is one devoid of hope.
Based in the suburbs of Melbourne the film describes the violent unravelling of an entire family as seen through the eyes of a 17 year old boy. Suddenly orphaned and with no home other than that of his maternal grandmother and her gangster sons, Josh finds himself at the centre of that family's destruction.
The impression I took away with me was one of claustrophobia mingled with menace. Most of the scenes were shot indoors with the camera lingering on close-up shots of Josh and his uncles where affectionate family feeling could turn into betrayal at any moment.
Jackie Weaver's portrayal of an apparently loving grandmother who lives for her "boys" was chilling while Guy Pearse's police inspector Leckie shone through the murky police culture of cruelty and corruption and provided a rare example of integrity.
As Josh, James Frecheville shows a profound stillness. Josh's family attempt to use him and to manipulate him. He is told that he is weak because he is young and that he needs to be protected, both by his uncles and by the police. He manages, however, to keep his emotions well hidden in order to survive and to carry out his revenge.

No comments: