The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 113 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Pearce, Sullivan Stapleton, Jacki Weaver
Directed by: David Michôd
Music by: Antony Partos
Written by: David Michôd
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 18, 2011
"A Crime Story"
Evil is relative in this chilling tale of betrayal and blood starring Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn and Joel Edgerton. When his mother dies from a overdose, 17-year-old Josh Cody is taken in by his grandmother and uncles, the most notorious criminal gang in the city. So when tensions between the Codys and a squad of renegade cops land him at the center of a cold-blooded murder plot, Josh is forced to choose between his treacherous family and the lawless police in this shattering thriller.
17-year-old Josh Cody's (James Frecheville) mother believed in fate. She believed in it enough that she took him and herself away from her family, to try to escape the inevitable. Her family are criminals by trade, and there was no other option, they do it together and are as thick as thieves. It seems Grandma (aptly nicknamed Grandma Smurf) raised her kids well enough...to do wherever mommy said. You can run but you cant hide, and the family troubles sneak up on Josh's mom in the way of a Heroin overdose. His only option is to go live with Grandma Smurf and his uncles, and ultimately get a crash-course education in the family trade when a revenge war erupts between them renegade cops.
How fate has a way of becoming fate.
'Animal Kingdom' is a dark and gritty look at a family whose busniess is armed robbery. Set in Melbourne, Australia in a nondescript and not too distant past, though the Air Supply on music television indicates early 80s, when armed robbery was a little more of a viable option for criminals. Besides a few black and white stills over the opening credits, 'Animal Kingdom' had a very unique trait--it never showed a robbery, and this worked to its advantage as the story unfolded. At times it was hard to believe these fun-loving and family oriented people could do these things they do, and not seeing the truth for a short while helps the viewer connect to them.
In a subtle performance of confusion, the tales protagonist, Josh, kept the viewer guessing to whether he is truly one of the family or is the final break in the cycle of madness. In the special features they talk of Australian Actress Jacki Warner, calling her a "National Treasure". Her superlative performance as Grandma Smurf was engrossing, especially in the last act of the film when her character blew wide open. All of the cast took it to the next level, selling their characters perfectly. First time writer/director David Michôd was in ultimate control, writing a great screenplay and directing the film like a well versed veteran. The tension, uncertainty and comfortable disgust he built was spot-on, helping sell this small tale of the 'biggest' criminal gang/family in Melbourne.
Rated R for violence, drug content and pervasive language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
video that has an average bitrate of 24.2 mbps and DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 3 mbps.
'Animal Kingdom' is another tinker-free and filmic Blu-ray release from Sony. Colors and flesh-tones are real world real, with a less than vivid palette that fits the films mood to a tee. Besides a heavy veil of celluloid grain, we are treated to a noise-free image. Finer details peered through the grain, and besides a few spots where blacks were plagued with a grayish tone, this seemed a true to what was filmed release. However, the sum of the parts didn't add up to the depth of picture we come to expect and usually get from Sony.
'Animal Kingdom' has a fine audio presentation, but it is nothing stand-out. The score by Antony Partos seemed to push a bit loud and felt like it was about to distort any second. Dialogue, especially in the beginning, had me reaching for the remote, but did settle in just fine. This could have been attributed to me having to get used to the Australian accents, but I did have to go 10db louder than my norm to make some words out. The surround presentation was mostly minimalistic, but sirens and other effects did pop out nicely when used in the rear channels. The most effective aspect of this track was the dynamics. Out-of-the-blue gunfire was loud, clear and seemed tonally precise...this was the type of stuff that made me jump a few times. Low end blended well from the gunfire to the music portions of the track, but never went to Earth shattering lows. --A nice track but not a show stopper.
- Audio Commentary with Director David Michôd
- (HD) Creating Animal Kingdom
- (HD) Q&A with Director David Michôd and Actors Jacki Weaver and James Frecheville
- (HD) Trailers: A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop, Lebanon, The Illusionist, Another Year, I Get Low
- BD Live enabled
'Animal Kingdom' is a better than average crime drama due to its impeccable cast and Direction. I had read so much praise on the film and found it to be very good, but not in the leagues of the very best of the genre. This Blu-ray from Sony is another wonderful transfer with watchable extra features. 'Animal Kingdom' is absolutely worth a watch, but as far as repeat viewing, your mileage might vary...I cant see myself giving it multiple spins.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS50 3D 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Denon AVR-4311CI Receiver
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer