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‘Animal Kingdom’ Review Roundup: Critics Are Mixed on the TV Adaptation of David Michôd’s Acclaimed Crime Drama

Ellen Barkin's performance has been singled out for praise, however.



The film-to-television train keeps rolling with “Animal Kingdom,” which follows the likes of “Fargo” and “Uncle Buck” in bringing a story from the silver screen to the small one. David Michôd’s acclaimed crime drama netted Jacki Weaver an Oscar nomination and helped bring Ben Mendelsohn and Joel Edgerton to wider attention, but the TV series has only garnered lukewarm praise so far. Indiewire‘s Ben Travers says that “Jonathan Lisco’s effort sheds the originality of its inspiration, episode by episode, until the conceit no longer feels all that fresh.”

READ MORE: Review: ‘Animal Kingdom’ Season 1 Honors the Film, But Lacks the Dynamic That Made It Great

Travers, who gives the show a B-, offers kudos to its aesthetic but ultimately feels that it suffers in comparison to the film because “we need more reasons to care when we’ll be watching this long.” Slant Magazine‘s Chuck Bowen goes even further, saying the show is “superficial and derivative of countless other films and crime shows, lacking the nihilistic heat of its source material and the transcendently elegant formality of ‘Point Break.” But it also decadently relishes in the objectification of both genders with amusing shamelessness.”

Writing for Collider, Allison Keene is considerably more positive. She calls the series “a measured portrait of a complicated family that gives some credit to its audience” before noting that “though the series revels in its gloss for now, that doesn’t mean it’s not also interested in what lies beneath.”

READ MORE: ‘Fargo’ Season 3: Ewan McGregor Cast in Dual Role In FX Limited Series

Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly is somewhere between those two extremes, giving “Animal Kingdom” a B and and saying it “lives at the intersection of Polished Cable Pulp and Who Cares? The performances are good enough to enliven the antihero familiarity.”

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