Monday, March 14, 2011

Aussie Gangster Film Side-Steps Cliches

Few crime dramas are as compelling as last year"s "Animal Kingdom." David Michôd wrote and directed the film about a Melbourne family of bank robbers. We never see them rob a bank, and except for one or two brutal scenes never a crime is committed. How's that for avoiding heist film cliches?
Michôd is after something deeper--the relationship among thieves and the police pursuing them who may be just as corrupt as their prey.
Guy Pearce does a stellar job in his understated role as the policeman who sees the crime family's youngest, J, as the lone hope for justice. The rest of the cast performs with remarkable restraint as well, especially given the subject matter -- opportunities for histrionics are at every corner, but thankfully both Michôd and the cast knew better.

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