Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Animal Kingdom 2009

Directed by David Michôd

The best Australian badass movie since Chopper, David Michôd’s Sundance winner shows us a violent Melbourne crime family imploding in the iron grip of its pint-sized matriarch. With Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver.

112 minutes CinemaScope

Director, Screenplay


Liz Watts


Adam Arkapaw


Luke Doolan

Production designer

Jo Ford

Costume designer

Cappi Ireland


Antony Partos


Ben Mendelsohn (Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody)
Joel Edgerton (Barry ‘Baz’ Brown)
Guy Pearce (Det Senior Sgt Nathan Leckie)
Luke Ford (Darren Cody)
Jacki Weaver (Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody)
Sullivan Stapleton (Craig Cody)
James Frecheville (Joshua ‘J’ Cody)
Dan Wyllie (Ezra White)
Anthony Hayes (Det Justin Norris)
Laura Wheelwright (Nicky Henry)
Mirrah Foulkes (Catherine Brown)
Justin Rosniak (Det Randall Roache)
Susan Prior (Alicia Henry)
Clayton Jacobson (Gus Emery)
Anna Lise Phillips (Barrister Justine Hopper)


Sundance 2010


Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Drama), Sundance Film Festival 2010


The best Australian badass movie since Chopper – and upping the felon count dramatically – David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom is a coolly measured picture of a violent Melbourne crime family imploding in the iron grip of its pint-sized matriarch. — BG

“This year’s Sundance discovery was without a doubt the Australian writer-director David Michôd. His feature debut, Animal Kingdom, which rightfully won the World Jury Dramatic Prize, is a layered, fascinating drama of cops and criminals (and their intersection), superbly acted by a cast of Down Under royalty and led by newcomer James Frecheville as the practically silent teen observer whose mother has just OD’d on heroin… He moves in with his grandmother and three uncles who are wanted by the police, and while it’s immediately evident that they’re bad news, it’s the slow build to the full extent of the young man’s jeopardy, as he is unavoidably sucked into the family’s savage way of life, that makes the film so nerve-wracking.” — Laura Kern, Film Comment

“Michôd’s lean script enlivens the underbelly of graceful Melbourne thanks to a flawless ensemble cast… Frecheville begins as a monosyllabic teen and grows up fast as distrust builds between him and [his uncle] Pope, played with a chilling sinister depravity by Ben Mendelsohn. As Smurf, veteran Jacki Weaver is memorable as the brutal crime mother watching over her brood who makes her hardened sons look soft. Superb cinematography and production design capture Melbourne at its drabbest. The city’s tourism officials may not be proud of what the Animal Kingdom shows, but they will certainly recognise their town.” — David D’Arcy, Screendaily