Monday, June 28, 2010

Mother Knows Best

I trust Sony Pictures Classics know how to position Aussie crime film Animal Kingdom in the American cinemagoing landscape better than I. We all know that foreign films are finding it harder and harder to find an audience in the United States and must do their hardest to get bums in seats. SPC's answer? Well, according to this trailer - thanks to the gorgeous Alice Tynan at The Plot Thickens for alerting me to it - their answer is to sell Jacki Weaver as Evil Mother de jour of 2010.

I was initially surprised that Weaver - she of what is sure to be the year's best supporting performance, male or female - was quoted about on the film's US movie poster, but now it all makes sense as part of a bigger plan to sell her as the film's centrepiece, which - for me - it is.

Those are big words and apt ones, too, and here comes the new US trailer. Suddenly the entire movie revolves around Weaver's creepy, despicable mother character. The trailer gives way too much away in regards to the dastardly deeds that she performs - I and others have been careful to let her wicked arsenal of party tricks remain a surprise despite yammering on and on about how fantastic she is at dishing them out - but it certainly gives me faith that SPC have found an angle and are running with it. Anything that gets American audiences to actually see the movie and maybe even propel Jacki Weaver into Oscar contention is good by me.

In fact, this trailer is so enamoured with Weaver that her line "You've done some bad things, Sweetie" gets uttered not once, but TWICE! It's as if they're giving the movie a catchphrase (hey, it is a great line and Weaver's delivery is creepy beyond words). Is Weaver this year's Mo'Nique? I'd like to think so, but I doubt it. She's sure to win every award under the sun in her home country, but it will always be hard for an older, unknown actress to get noticed in the circus that is the American awards season. Anyone who enjoys an Evil Mother in their films must see Animal Kingdom. Anyone who prides themselves on seeing the best that world cinema has to offer must see Animal Kingdom, too.

Animal Kingdom is out in the USA on August 13 and is currently screening in Australia (to box office of over $3mil and counting, which is great news). Check out the trailer at Apple or below.


Drew said...

I'm not sure that marketing the film around Weaver is really the right idea. I think a lot of people are going to leave disappointed if they go in expecting the Evil Mother of the decade.

I think she turns in an amazing performance, but she's hardly the centrepiece of the film and her "scene after scene" of evil is really just a couple of scenes. I was expecting her to take a lot more action than she did, considering the hype I'd read about her.

I'm not denigrating her performance (she'll definitely take out the supporting AFI this year, and she'll deserve it) but to me, she and Mendelsohn are neck-and-neck for best in show honours. I really hope he gets an AFI for his work here as well.

Glenn Dunks said...

I do worry about that too, but at least I, in my review, made note of the fact that Weaver owns the second half but that the first half is mostly just her standing around doing that weird, incest thing.

Angeleno said...

I'm an American, living in Los Angeles, and I had the great good fortune to see Animal Kingdom about 10 days ago at the LA Film Fest. Loved it! Just a terrific movie. I can see why there seems to be such a lot of Australian support for this movie. There's so much good acting in Animal Kingdom, even in smaller parts. I agree with you that Jackie Weaver is amazing, but Ben Mendelsohn was just awe-inspiring. What a stellar, unique performance. I've never seen anybody bring such a sense of menace to the screen without even seeming to be doing anything (at least in the early parts of the movie). That menace is set up beautifully by the wonderful supporting work of the other actors around him. Every time he walks into the room, they all go tense, and it dawns on you that if this hardened bunch of people are afraid of this guy, he's *truly* dangerous. Just great work by everybody concerned!