Tag Archives: Crime film

Animal Kingdom (2010)

7 Aug

With an ensemble cast of Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, and Guy Pearce, and stellar screenwriting and direction by Daivid Michod,  Animal Kingdom is a terribly underrated indie gem which stands out as one of the best films to emerge from Australia in recent times.  Part coming-of-age story, part crime-thriller, the film documents the life of a 17-year-old boy who is trying to fit in to an elusive but colorful family with a criminal past.

After the sudden death of a particular family member, the Cody family decides to take up arms and start a vendetta with the local law enforcement. What unfolds is an unpredictable and captivating series of events that set a new standard for the domestic crime drama. Animal Kingdom’s greatest strength is in it’s rich characterization. Though Jacki Weaver got the Oscar nomination, Ben Medelsohn gives the performance of his career, creating the elusive and multilayered “Pope” Cody.

While it lacks the depth of films like The Godfather or City of GodI thoroughly enjoyed this film and director David Michod really knows how to create effective tension that drives the story without missing a beat.

Rating: 8/10

Similar to: L.A. Confidential, Training Day, The Town

Gangster Squad (2013)

8 Jan

Gangster Squad is to films noir what The Avegners was to superhero flicks.

It is loud, explosive, fast paced and just good ol’ crime-fighting fun. Sure, it’s not the most intellectual piece of cinema, nor the most dramatic. But Gangster Squad gets it ferocity from it’s fast-paced, episodic action sequences, and a slew of great performances.

The casting here is remarkable and the drama is cleverly paced with welcome bouts of comedic timing. Sean Penn, as the ruthless crime leader Cohen, is at the top of his game. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are great together and Josh Brolin makes a whole-hearted likable good-guy (for once).

Added to the film’s style is a pitch-pefect retro look and beautiful Matrix-esc action scenes. The story is catered to meet modern audiences, but is still reminiscent of great films noir and gives heaping doses of thrills and emotion.  This film packs a violent punch and though not genre-defining, Gangster Squad is one of the best crime films I have seen in a long time.

rating 7/10 

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