Directorial debut by Australia's David Michod sinks its teeth in deep.
Written and directed by first-timer David Michod, an Australian crime family is at the center of this epic drama. But these are no Corleones. With a frightening, bleach-blonde matriarch (Jacki Weaver) at its head and a monosyllabic teenager at its tail, this snake has venom and bite but no future; it's a creature that needs to be put out of its misery - and the clan work toward that with their own narcissism and ineptitude.
What elevates this above most crime films is the way Michod stages his violence - it's real all right, and very bloody, but just out of our eyesight, which makes it artful and gruesome.
Weaver deserves an Oscar nomination as the grandma without a soul; also quite good is Joel Edgerton, who was similarly terrific in "The Square," an Australian film noir from earlier this year. His presence is so charismatic that he played Stanley to Cate Blanchett's Blanche on stage in "Streetcar Named Desire" last winter in N.Y. and D.C.