Animal Kingdom Movie : Is It Based on True Story?

Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, James Frecheville, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, and Sullivan Stapleton feature in Animal Kingdom, an Australian neo-noir criminal thriller film directed by David Michôd released in 2010.

Some of the events in Michôd’s script revolve around the Pettingill family, a notorious Melbourne, Victoria, crime family.

A jury in 1991 convicted four men, including brothers Trevor Pettingill and Victor Peirce, Anthony Leigh Farrell, and Peter David McEvoy, of their roles in the 1988 shooting deaths of two Victorian police officers.

The picture was well appreciated by critics, and Jacki Weaver even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Animal Kingdom Movie Storyline

Joshua “J” Cody, 17, moves home with his grandma, Janine “Smurf” Cody when his mother overdoses. Smurf is the loving matriarch of a Melbourne crime family.

Police are watching her home for her missing son, Andrew “Pope” Cody. Craig, the middle brother, distributes narcotics and purchases his mother a house. Darren follows his siblings, while his family friend “Baz” leads the armed robbery team.

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Craig brings J to visit a dishonest drug squad cop who warns him renegade armed-robbery cops are after them all. Later, Baz meets Pope at a shopping mall to talk about quitting crime.

Police approach Baz’s car, wrongly say he has a gun, and shoot him. Pope and Craig desire retribution and want J to steal a Commodore for Darren.

After 2:00 am, the automobile is parked as bait. Pope and Craig ambush and kill two officers. J encounters Detective Senior Sergeant Nathan Leckie, who commands the armed-robbery team, the next day.

Leckie, one of the few non-corrupt police officers, recognizes J’s plight. J and Nicky return to Nicky’s parents’ home after being released.

Craig meets Pope, Darren, and Smurf at a diner, where they realize J is the weak link. Craig panics when Smurf advises he be questioned and visits a buddy in Bendigo. Craig realizes that the house is being monitored, so he tries to run via a field but is shot.

Pope and Darren introduce J to Ezra, their lawyer. He advises J not to tell the police and to break up with Nicky, which J does.

Leckie brings J into custody again and offers witness protection, but J declines. Nicky shows up at Smurf’s house seeking J. Pope feeds her heroin, then suffocates her. J finds Nicky’s bracelet outs

ide Smurf’s house the next morning. Hearing Nicky’s phone ring from the backyard, he runs to his parent’s house. Darren gives Pope Nicky’s address; he intercepts J. J and walks to a safe house.

Animal Kingdom Movie

Smurf determines “J needs to go” because Craig and Baz are dead, Pope and Darren are in jail, and J may be a star prosecution witness.

Smurf utilizes her connections to get J’s address from a dishonest cop. DEA agents storm the safe home. J leaps a fence and returns to Smurf’s house to liberate Pope and Darren. The family’s lawyer guides J’s answers.

Leckie asks J before he leaves the safe hotel if he’s “figured out where he fits” (a reference to his animal-kingdom metaphor for J’s situation). Pope, Darren, and Smurf toast their acquittal with champagne.

Smurf taunts Leckie in the supermarket. Later, J returns to Smurf’s house and asks to remain. J shoots Pope while he talks to him. J embraces a speechless Smurf in the last scene.

Animal Kingdom Movie cast

  • Joshua “J” Daniel Cody, the nephew of “Pope,” Craig, and Darren, is portrayed by James Frecheville. He gets along well with Craig and Darren but has nothing but hatred towards Pope.
  • Andrew “Pope” Cody, played by Ben Mendelsohn, is the eldest brother and a psychotic thief on the run from the law. Brown, also known as BarryBaz,” is his closest confidant and frequent criminal collaborator.
  • Detective Nathan Leckie (Guy Pearce), is one of the cities of Melbourne’s few competent cops. It is his hope that he may persuade “J” to abandon his illegal ways.
  • As Janine “Smurf” Cody, played by Jacki Weaver, “Pope,” mother to Darren and Craig, and grandmother to “J,” she is the matriarch of the family.
  • Barry “Baz” Brown, “Popetrusted “‘s accomplice and best buddy, is portrayed by Joel Edgerton. Their wife, Cathy, and his pals the Codys.
  • Middle brother and thriving drug dealer Craig Cody is played by Sullivan Stapleton. They are trying to shield “J” from “Pope,” who has it in for him.
  • Playing the role of Darren Cody, the youngest sibling is Luke Ford. He and “J” were inseparable as kids despite being separated for several years. He is the first sibling to accept “J.”
  • Actress Laura Wheelwright plays “Jgirlfriend “‘s, Nicky Henry.
  • Replacing Leckie is the family’s lawyer, Ezra White (Dan Wyllie), who despises him. It was in Michod’s 2006 short drama film Ezra White, LL.B. that Wyllie first portrayed the title role.
  • To rescue “J” from his predicament, Leckie’s partner, Detective Justin Norris, played by Anthony Hayes, steps in.
  • Baz Brown’s wife, Catherine “Cathy” Brown, is portrayed by Mirrah Foulkes.
  • Starring Justin Rosniak as Detective Randall Roache
  • Alicia Henry, played by Susan Prior
  • Gus Emery is played by Clayton Jacobson.
  • Justyce Hopper (Anna Lise Phillips)

Animal Kingdom Movie Trailer


Animal Kingdom is an Australian neo-noir criminal thriller film released in 2010. Written and directed by David Michôd, the film stars Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver, James Frecheville, Luke Ford, and Sullivan Stapleton.

Smurf determines “J needs to go” because Craig and Baz are dead. Darren gives Pope Nicky’s address; he intercepts J and walks to a safe house. DEA agents storm the safe home; J leaps a fence and returns to Smurf’s house.