19 October 2011

Jack Roberston is a year 10 student at St Francis of Xaivier College. During his work experience at FACT he has been helping the Schools and Learning Team run National Schools Film Week. Here are his thoughts on yesterdays screening of Animal Kingdom...

Animal Kingdom is an epic Australian crime drama, brought to you by director David Michod. The film was firstly released back in January of 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival, where the film bagged itself the World Film Jury Prize for Drama. This was just one of the many accolades that the film received. Also, at the Australian Film Institute awards the film managed to receive a massive 18 nominations, winning only ten, but it was still massive success in itself due to the low budget and production in making the film. 

Michod was very interested in the underground world of crime and drugs in Melbourne and this influenced him to base his drama around this. The layout of the film itself is based up on a real-life family, The Pettingill’s. Along with the influence of the family and his own personal interests, the Walsh Street shooting of 1988 gave Michon ideas in the actual production of the script. After creating a number of different scripts one by the name of ‘J.’, Michon finally created his final script, Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom about a young man, Joshua ‘J’ Cody, whom from the start of the film is faced with the tragic death of his mother from a heroin overdose. From this J is invited to stay with his estranged grandmother Janine, who is leader of the notorious Melbourne crime family. J lives in a unit with his three uncles; Pope, Craig, Darren and his grandmother.

J was never suited to the family’s gangster way of life and wanted to feel as if he was part of the pack. So when given a chance to be part of one of the brothers heist's J accepts and steals a car, which would later be a diversion, which was used to murder two police officers. The police officers had been murdered in vengeance by Pope and the brother as ‘Baz’, a friend of the family who was involved in the drug trafficking in and around Melbourne were murdered by the police. The death of Baz fired up the war between the family and the police leading to a catastrophic ending for J and everyone around him. 

Animal Kingdom is definitely worth a watch. If hard-hitting gangsters are your thing, you will not be disappointed!

After watching the film, a small group and myself entered The Box, the small cinema space at FACT where the salon discussion took place. In a Salon your ideas can be shared with the people alongside you. The good thing about the Salon I would say is that an array of ideas from yourself can change your view on the film. Doing this activity and speaking about the film stimulates your thinking to take in exactly what you’ve saw and experienced to help you make a final judgement on the film. This is a good thing to do and what I think everyone should experience after watching a film.

National School Film Week alongside with FACT make all this happen, so I think that events and activities like this should happen more to influence children and teenagers to start using their ideas more and doing this can influence anyone’s creative flow.

Look out for more Screening and Salon events for Schools coming soon. For more information contact FACT's Schools and Learning Coordinator.