Debuting on June 14 with a two-hour premiere on TNT, Animal Kingdom sadly is one of those adaptations that just doesn’t work. Whereas the 2010 Australian film starring Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton and Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver about a matriarch-run Melbourne crime family was very good, the SoCal-set small-screen series from John Wells and Jonathan Lisco pulls too dramatic many punches and ends up being merely gratuitous
With Ellen Barkin as boss mama “Smurf” Cody, Scott Speedman as her right-hand guy Baz and Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson and Jake Weary as her lawless sons, the 10-episode first season kicks off with an estranged daughter OD’ing and her 17-year old being welcomed into the family fold and business.
Which means Joshua, played by Finn Cole, enters a life of crime and decadence under Smurf’s cloying and commanding control and his uncles’ influence.
Add to that a whole lot of surfboards, sex, hard bodies, drugs, pool parties, heists and sibling rivalries and you have the clichés and connect-the-dots plots of Animal Kingdom. You have to give Emmy winner Barkin credit for obviously trying to make the best of what she can of the desperately dark and would-be gritty material, but, from what I’ve seen, that just doesn’t add up to much. That fact is, as I say in my video review above, it feels as if on the trip over the Pacific from Australia to California, Animal Kingdom lost all that made the movie so wild and watchable.
Having said that, watch my video review of Animal Kingdom above and tell us what you think.