“Drawing on real-life events from Melbourne’s criminal underworld, writer-director David Michod’s striking feature debut is a gripping drama about a family in disarray and a young man’s struggle to survive.” - Tom Ryan, Sunday Age review
ANIMAL KINGDOM is a powerful psychological crime drama that tells the story of a tense battle between a dangerous criminal family and the police.
Armed robber Pope Cody (BEN MENDELSOHN) is in hiding, on the run from a gang of renegade detectives who want him dead. His business partner and best friend, Barry ‘Baz’ Brown (JOEL EDGERTON), wants out of the game, recognising that their days of old-school banditry are all but over. Pope’s younger brother, the speed-addicted and volatile Craig Cody (SULLIVAN STAPLETON), is making a fortune in the illicit substances trade – the true cash cow of the modern criminal fraternity – whilst the youngest Cody brother, Darren (LUKE FORD), naively navigates his way through this criminal world – the only world his family has ever known.
And into this world arrives their nephew, Joshua ‘J’ Cody (JAMES FRECHEVILLE).
Following the death of his mother, J finds himself living with his hitherto estranged family, under the watchful eye of his doting grandmother, Smurf (JACKI WEAVER), mother to the Cody boys. J quickly comes to believe that he is a player in this world. But, as he soon discovers, this world is far larger and more menacing than he could ever imagine.
When tensions between family and police reach a bloody peak, J finds himself at the centre of a cold-blooded revenge plot that turns the family upside down, and which also threatens to ensnare innocent bystanders such as his girlfriend, Nicky (LAURA WHEELWRIGHT).
One senior cop, Nathan Leckie (GUY PEARCE), must lure J into the police fold and then shepherd him through a complex minefield of witness protection, corrupt cops, slippery lawyers and a paranoid and vengeful underworld.
J comes to realise that in order to survive he must determine how the game is played – he must somehow choose his place in this cunning and brutal animal kingdom. He must work out where he fits.