Mini-review for the Australian crime flick Animal Kingdom:
Animal Kingdom examines a family of armored car robbers being hunted down one-by-one by the cops, as seen through the eyes of the 18-year-old who is thrown into their world after his mother dies and he's left in their care. The film moves at a rather sluggish pace and struggles to maintain interest, probably because our young central character seems so passive and uninterested in everything that's happening around him. Scenes that could have been milked for suspense or surprise or drama aren't executed as effectively as they could have been. Frankly, they're kinda boring. Chief among the films few assets is Jacki Weaver, who casts a somewhat creepy presence as the family's nearly unshakable matriarch, but her performance is not exactly the awards-worthy performance several outlets have declared. She's good, not great.
As for her awards campaign, Sony Picture Classics was quick out of the gate with DVDs sent to Academy members, but I'd argue that the hype is the enemy. If voters watch their screeners expecting to see her “set the screen ablaze”, they may be disappointed by the relatively chilly nature of the performance.
** out of ****