<em>Mighty Movie Podcast:</em> David Michod on <em>Animal Kingdom</em>

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Finally, the family film we've been waiting for this summer. Okay, that's an obvious joke, sorry. Animal Kingdom is about a family, but one that, if you're lucky, you'll never have as next door neighbors. Set in crime-ridden Melbourne, Australia, the film focuses on the Cody clan, a criminal unit that's fallen on hard times.

Animal Kingdom is presented mostly through the eyes of Joshua -- aka "J" (James Frecheville)- a teenager who's just lost his mother to drugs and who's now fallen into the loving, poisonous arms of his grandmother "Smurf" (Jacki Weaver), and her 2010-08-14-Animal_Kingdom_19_360.jpgextended family, including kin, Darren (Luke Ford), Craig (Sullivan Stapleton) and "Pope" (Ben Mendelsohn), and partner-in-crime -- and the most level-headed soul in the lot -- "Baz" (Joel Edgerton -- whom we met earlier this year as a similarly level-headed arsonist in The Square). And while the film follows J as he deals with the moral quandaries of living in the midst of thieves and murderers, the show really belongs to Weaver and Mendelsohn, she bringing a candied malignancy to Grandma Smurf, he limning a chilling portrayal of the kind of sociopath who, just by instinct, most sane people know to cut a wide swath around.

And by the way, Guy Pearce is in there as well, as a detective who serves as moral counterbalance for young J, and who we suspect maintains his noble station by using his mustache as a filter against corruption.

Director David Michod was willing to discuss the effort that went into this, his debut feature. Click on the player to hear the interview.

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