Animal Kingdom is out in Australian cinemas today.
Australia. It’s a tough country to nail down, because so many of us hate the image that we project. It’s called the “cultural cringe”. No one in Australia goes to see Australian films; if you talk about a movie and then say that it’s Australian, your audience quickly loses interest.
There is something utterly uncompelling about the promotion of our films that a lot of people don’t get through the door to find out if something is worth watching. Of course, it was not always like this. And it doesn’t always have to be like this.
Animal Kingdom is a magnetic movie. From its first trailer, featuring a home invasion set to Air Supply’s “All Out of Love”, I knew that I had to see it. A more conventional trailer only cemented that thought. The fact that it won at Sundance didn’t hurt, either.
Suddenly Animal Kingdom had done what Beneath Hill 60 with its appeal to jingoism and I Love You, Too, with its appeal to the Peter Dinklage fanbase, had resolutely failed to do: it got me excited to see an Australian movie.
In an industry where apathy is the killer, where it’s easier to go to Transformers than it is to make an informed decision, where they let Robin Hood open Cannes, to set off someone’s radar means something.
Through no fault of Animal Kingdom, I had come to expect it as some sort of Holy Grail of Australian cinema. It’s pretty good, but it’s not close to sacramental.