Director: Bart Layton
Genre: Crime, Drama
Runtime: 116 Minutes
Main Cast: Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd
Plot: This is the true story of 4 young men who, after watching many heist movies including Reservoir Dogs, plan a heist of their own to steal millions of dollars worth of art from their University’s library.
My Thoughts: I went into this movie completely blind. It was my local Odeon’s “Screen Unseen” screening, a special event where they show a secret movie not yet released in the UK. I didn’t have any kind of inkling what the movie might be, and I hadn’t even heard of American Animals until the BBFC rating screen appeared!
So with that in mind, maybe the excitement of it all, combined with a complete lack of expectation will skew my thoughts, but I had a brilliant time watching this. It’s told in partly a documentary format with the men of the story making an appearance to give their own accounts of what happened back in 2003. Personally I had no idea so the outcome was always going to be a surprise, but seeing how old the 4 men are now and knowing how much time has passed since the heist, it was easy to deduce that nothing too serious went down for them to be walking free in the present day.
That said, it was a wild ride! You could quite easily split the movie into 2 distinct halves, before the heist and after the heist. The before half was interesting and quite humorous in the way it was filmed, think I, Tonya but not quite as outrageous.
However, it was the second half that makes American Animals so memorable for me. If you’ve ever watched a heist movie and thought “pshht, I could do that” then this is a much watch. It turns serious, fast, and I was honestly frozen in place with my heart thumping in my chest through some moments.
Best Bit: The conflicting accounts from the 4 men, and how the movie changes with it. It amused me!
“The guy was wearing a blue tie” – Guy in question on screen has a blue tie.
“He had a dark coat and red tie” – Guy in question on screen’s tie has suddenly changed colour.
Worst Bit: I say worst only because it made me feel so uneasy (as intended really) but the moment when the guys ‘take care of the librarian’.
Fun Trivia: During filming the actors were not allowed to meet their real life counterparts because the director feared they would sympathise and/or play them in a certain light.
My Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 red ties. Blue ties. Oh, I don’t even know anymore! Did he have a beard?!