- Movie Rating -

Animal Kingdom (2024)

| April 12, 2024

I’ll admit, I don’t normally think of a Sci-Fi fantasy coming out of France, but . . . here we are.  Tim Cailly’s Animal Kingdom, which got a lot of kudos when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year
works because it takes it oddball premise and attaches it to a scenario that we can easily understand, especially given recent events.

Now, this is a movie that’s best served cold.  The less you know going in, the better the experience, so in that case [buzzer]

The movie takes place at a time when the world is facing a plague.  For reasons that remain unexplained, ordinary people are turning animals and slowly losing their own humanity.  This, of course, causes panic, especially amid government officials who want to round these people up and put them in cages.

Our focus falls on Francois and his son Emile as they try and gain access to the mother, who is slowly turning into a cat and the two of them, particularly Emile, realize the brutality with which these infected people are being treated.  And then . . . I won’t spoil what comes next but it puts a tension between father and son that is very effective.

This is a very odd film, but not too far off the mark.  It’s one of those movies where you are constantly trying to imagine how it might have been handled by a major American studio.  I imagine that it might have been bigger and had a lot more visual effects and the social message would have either been mangled or left out.  Certainly, the ending would have been different.

This this movie puts the human element first.  There’s a virus that nobody can identify.  It has devastating effects and no one can or will do anything to deal with the human beings involved.  They’re treated like animals, like something disposable and therefore something to be treated like an object.  It’s a shock when you realize that this has been the course of human events going back to the Black Plague.

It’s a very smart and thoughtful movie that has an ending that was both positive but also leaves you with questions.  I liked it a lot. 

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2024) View IMDB Filed in: Foreign