Animal - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Animal Reviews

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July 7, 2014
What's on offer here is a very compelling character drama, with a strong lead performance from Ving Rhames but oh what's that? Its not for mainstream appeal? Ah, well, lets just put it on DVD... and now here we are.

As soon as the film starts, I noticed how everything looked and how it all looked very real, the camera work wasn't pretty and it showed these scenarios for how real they were. I'm sure the budget for this was already in the dirt, sadly, but it works to the films advantage, especially the prison scenes. I knew that Animal could look after himself in prison but the portrayal of prison was probably one of the most realistic I've seen in a long time.

The acting is what really makes this hit hard to its audience, it features some people you know, some you don't but it doesn't really matter. Everyone here puts their all into it and it feels so passionate and full of life, which makes it hard to watch at some points. Ving Rhames is the star of the show no doubt and he commands the screen whenever he's on, his performance felt very unrestrained and naked, in a way, he held nothing back and it all felt very honest. The story of a criminal trying to find a new life needs acting like that. I see a lot of films and this is one of the rare occasions where I just see the character on screen as opposed to the actor. I've only ever seen Ving Rhames in Pulp Fiction and the 3 Nicolas Cage films he is in and even though he plays a criminal a few times, this still felt very different to everything else. Terrence Howard gave a good performance as well, which is to be expected from him but the struggle of their relationship really shines because of the acting and makes the story feel all the more real.

The only person who really took me out of it, even if just a little bit, was Chazz Palminteri, no disrespect to the guy but every film I've seen him in he just plays the same character over and over again, he worked for the story but it was a little distracting and I don't understand what he in particular was doing here, it just felt odd to see him in this.

The only major complaint I have, and it isn't even to do with the film itself, is that there's a sequel. While it will be interesting to see where Animal's life goes next, even though the ending of this kind of spells doom for his character but okay, it doesn't really feel necessary at all. I'm glad Rhames came back but the fact that Howard didn't I fear will be a little distracting.

I don't know why but this story really hit me hard and by the end it was genuinely heartbreaking. Maybe because I can picture this happening in real life. A man trying to change his life but everything else around him won't let him do it, he tries to explain he has to conform or else he will go back to prison but no one accepts that. Its a very pure, heartfelt, strong family drama where every main character gets some development, with shocking moments, great music and a real script. It's very hard to watch but for all the right reasons.
October 1, 2013
Very good Father-Son Movie.
May 28, 2013
Ving Rhames kicken some ass in jail. Great stuff, really good
½ February 8, 2012
good message and story
½ June 25, 2011
Pretty decent movie. Street legend becomes a 2 time felon, turns his life around, son follows gangster footsteps & finds himself in the same position. Grade:B-
February 27, 2011
its not that good part 2 is better 7.5 out of 10
January 9, 2011
Not bad, nothing special either.
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2010
Somewhat interesting but weakly written Independent gangster/prison drama by unknowns David C. Johnson and Thomas Care, and directed by David J. Burke. Good performance by Ving Rhames [even though the he was a little over the top at times], Terrence Howard ["Hustle & Flow", "Fighting"], and NFL-Legend Jim Brown ["Any Given Sunday"] as a black revolutionary who just got off death row. Decent performances by Chazz Palminteri ["A Bronx Tale"], Taraji P. Henson ["The Curious Case of Benjamin Button","The Karate Kid"] Wes Studi, and Faizon Love. Overall - with better writing and a better director it would have been a good film and a lot more compelling, there's a good message [of redemption, learning to live a more peaceful life, and breaking the cycle of violence that plagues the black community] behind it though.
½ May 24, 2010
This movie appears to starts out appearing as a low budget, no brain film however as the film develops, it turns out to be a superbly acted film with a strong message behind. Ving Rhames and Terrence Howard (particulary the latter) are superb in this film portraying the lives of those caught up in the ghetto. It is not until Ving Rhames is taught the theory of willy lynch and black slavery that they are able to understand the struggle of their ancestors and spread the message, however it may already be too late...
May 19, 2010
A brutal, and powerful story which tells the story of the dark demon which lives in us all and how it can manifest itself.
January 2, 2010
A hidden gem. What the movie lacks in blockbuster action and special effects, it makes up for in character development, an enriching story and something modern movies lack: Pure heart.
December 24, 2009
December 12, 2009
I want to see this movie
November 30, 2009
If you Ving Rhames, you'll love this movie. He has so much range as an actor. The cast is wonderful, I almost thought I was watching hustle n flow for a minute. This is a good film. Job well done
October 6, 2009
not bad film great start thought would get better but still good !!
September 14, 2009
Some aspects of the psychology of Animal were good, as the story develops it doesn't get exactly as I would've thought. Even though it's really cliché.
½ July 28, 2009
This film takes a classic story and adds a few nice touches. Moreover, it presents some important information in a form that might be more palatable to the people who might most benefit from that information. The Willie Lynch Papers are real. People should not forget that governments and other organizations still practice the principles set forth therein.

The acting is pretty decent, which speaks positively to the directorial ability of Mr. Burke.

Some of the situations seem a little unlikely, but the message of the screenplay is too critical to countenance such a petty criticism.
½ June 20, 2009
why the son deat his fhater this part i dont like
June 8, 2009
Ving Rhames kicken some ass in jail. Great stuff, really good
May 6, 2009
this is such a good movie, words cannot say how inspirational this movie really is
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