Set in 1980s Melbourne and loosely based on real events, hard-hitting crime drama Animal Kingdom has been dubbed an ‘Australian GoodFellas’. Director David Michôd isn’t as flashy as Scorsese, but his portrayal of the violent downfall of a dysfunctional family of criminals shows that he’s a master at building slow-burning tension. When James Frecheville’s naïve 17-year-old outsider gets taken in by the clan following his mother’s death, you can cut the air of simmering aggression with a knife, but as he comes to terms with living in an underworld jungle where only the fittest survive, you’re left constantly on edge wondering when violence will next erupt. With Guy Pearce’s honest cop looking on from the sidelines, Ben Mendelsohn’s short-fused gangster appears to be top dog, but the scariest member of this animal kingdom is its queen, Oscar-nominated Jacki Weaver’s doting but ruthlessly cunning matriarch.
Released on DVD & Blu-ray by Optimum Home Entertainment on 11th July.