Friday, January 28, 2011

Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom"

Jacki Weaver received her first Oscar nomination for playing Janine "Smurf" Cody in Animal Kingdom.

It's amazing that one has to watch Animal Kingdom twice to fully grasp the film entirely. I thought "well, I think I should go back and try to look more in depth to Jacki Weaver" and ended up coming out sort of liking it. The first time around, it's bizarrely subtle, always hinting at things, but hardly ever showing. But, when you watch it again, all of that quiet intensity makes more sense and becomes much more interesting. The story follows a 17 year old boy who must involve himself with his extended family after his mother dies. His grandmother takes him in, but he soon realizes the entire family is involved in crime. Slowly, he finds himself more and more grasped by the family and the crimes.

Jacki Weaver plays Smurf, the grandmother of the main character and the mother of the troublesome sons. She is at glance a seemingly loving, sweet, and supportive woman who takes alot of pride in her family. Through talk from the other characters, however, we find this woman has her evil side. She knows how to manipulate people, not just her family. Jacki Weaver is like a fly on the wall during the majority of Animal Kingdom - you notice her, but her performance never screams in your face. If you are specifically watching for Jacki Weaver, more then likely, you will be disappointed.

It's only in the final act that Weaver's performance becomes more humanized and fascinating. She easily becomes the most interesting character in this year's race - her power over her family becomes amazing and diabolical, and Weaver finally gets to shine in the light. But, we have to wait until the final moments of the film to even see her shine, so the question is, does the earlier scenes live up to the great latter scenes? No, not really, but when she is on screen, Jacki Weaver does make the best of it. It's hard to judge, but it leaves an impact.

8 comments:

Deiner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

She's my favorite! I'm glad you like her as well. You're right, she kind of flies under the radar for the first act but I think that's what makes the second half so much more powerful. It's a haunting performance that's stuck with me. Can't wait to see what you think of the other nominees! :D

dinasztie said...

She's fantastic, so chilling. I think you will pick her. I love the scene in the car. She's both evil and terrifyingly human. As you said you gotta see her at least twice. I think she's disappointing only because of the wrong expectations.

Brandon (Twister) said...

She sounds really deserving!

I need to see her and Carter and then I can do a profiling of this year too!

Sage Slowdive said...

I agree dinasztie - it's so odd, you have to keep watch for her in order to actually notice her. But, I'm still not completely won over - I love the scene in the grocery store near the end there; deliciously evil.

Dazzling Aura said...

Based from your review, Sage (haven't seen it yet)it reminds me of George Sander's role in "All About Eve." When he was placed on screen it doesn't gave me an impact but when he reveals what he knows about Eve, it was an atomic bomb.

Sage Slowdive said...

That's an interesting comparison - but Sanders really gets a chance to shine (much better written too).

joe burns said...

Wow, I'm surprised. She looks very interesting.