In the opening scene of Animal Kingdom
, young cub Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville) finds himself reluctantly thrust into the wild after his mother overdoses on heroin. It’s the first in a series of tragedies, yet it barely seems to register with J, whose attention remains focused on a television game show while emergency workers quiz him for information. It’s as if “mother dying from heroin overdose” had been on his life’s to-do list from day one, and now the time had come to simply check off that particular event. Though we can’t be sure, given where the film starts, this also seems like the moment when J’s detachment finally sets in, and he resigns himsel...