Animal Kingdom (2010) TWR

From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)14 Feb 14:46
To: ALL1 of 7
Guy Pearce plays milquetoast detective in otherwise white-knuckle ausnoir.

From: william (WILLIAMA)14 Feb 16:12
Well, I spent an agreeable 20 minutes looking through H T Webster's Milquetoast cartoons. I was only dimly aware of the expression, but I see that Milk Toast has an almost identical double meaning to the more familiar Milk Sop. The main difference is that the sop isn't toasted.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)14 Feb 17:31
To: william (WILLIAMA) 3 of 7
Pearce was miscast (IMO) or alternatively, cast against type, as an improbably earnest and naive chief detective (social worker for troubled youth more like), pitted against the wiles of a vicious crime family and dirty cops out to kill each other. These weak plot elements are bulldozed over by bravura performances all around. Except Pearce's, which barely rose above a cameo, so it kind of stood out, just not in a good way.
From: william (WILLIAMA)14 Feb 18:16
His acting has been extremely variable ever since the glory days of Neighbours and Home & Away. He was very good in L A Confidential for example, OK(ish) in the Time Machine, and just awful in Disturbing the Peace (so bad that I deleted it after Jim lent me a copy).

I suspect he was good in LAC because 1) great direction 2) great ensemble cast around him 3) great script.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)15 Feb 00:24
To: william (WILLIAMA) 5 of 7
He was great in Ravenous. I don't think I've seen him turn in a bad performance before this, but I suppose it could be down to script and direction. This one was turned into a US tv series, I wonder how that worked out (Pearce not involved).
From: william (WILLIAMA)15 Feb 00:40
I'm not putting him down - even some really great actors have done shitty stuff now and then. In fact, after his soap opera days I first saw him in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and was absolutely blown away by how good he was.

Anyway, looking at his IMDB history he's never been short of top roles in big films, so he must be doing something right.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)15 Feb 15:37
To: william (WILLIAMA) 7 of 7
It's quite an interesting film, with a fine back story. I was speculating Pearce was brought on board for the international marquee, and he was either a producer, or was doing someone a favour, as he did kind of dial it in (maybe he was involved in another project at the time, and could only spare so much of his). He wasn't a producer, and the rest remains speculative.

Another possibility is the writer-director wanted to contrast middle-class mores with those of the underworld (the titular animal kingdom) -- this also accounts for the plot significance of a crime girlfriend's family swept up in the ensuing mayhem.

Anyway, some odd little things occur, almost on the level of the starbucks cup in Game of Thrones, that heighten the disconnect between Pearce's role and his odd passivity.

Allegedly Quentin Tarentino's "third favourite film of 2010".  :-{)
EDITED: 15 Feb 16:16 by DSMITHHFX