Both as a writer and director, Layton delivers the dramatic goods here with the skill of a pro at the top of his game while adding the rueful perspective of time's reassessment of youthful indiscretions; this has to rate among the most accomplished and fully realized big-screen debuts of recent times.
Producer: Daniel Battsek, Len Blavatnik, Katherine Butler
Writer: Bart Layton
Release Date: Jun 1, 2018
Runtime: 1hr 56m
Part true crime documentary, part breezy heist film, American Animals defies expectations at every turn. The premise is deceptively simple: four young men decide to shake up their existence by stealing millions of dollars worth of rare books from their college library. It’s the kind of bold low stakes/high reward plan they’ve seen in countless glossy and fun flicks. Only this crime really did happen… and it didn’t go down the way it does in the movies.
Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, and Jared Abrahamson star as the young men in question, though director Bart Layton has mixed in interview footage with their real-life counterparts and other figures from the case. The result is a meditation on memory, consequences, friendship, and those lines that shouldn’t be crossed.
Kevin L. Johnson
Did You Know?
American Animals is being filmed on locations in and around Charlotte, N.C.