David Michod, “Animal Kingdom”

Like his stunning short films Netherland Dwarf and Crossbow, David Michod’s terrific and terrifying feature debut, the 2010 Sundance World Dramatic Competition winner Animal Kingdom, is a smoothly photographed, moodily scored tale of a trapped, dim and docile young man who suffers at the hands of a careless and, in this case, criminal family. As in his previous work, Michod relies on an insistent voiceover to provide biting interiority while the unrelentingly grim working-class Melbourne milieu is strikingly depicted in slow-motion shots and even slower push-ins. James Frecheville is stoic and sullen as the lead, who we first glimpse as he’s watching a rancid television gameshow next to an unconscious woman who turns out to be his just...
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