Genre: Crime, Drama
Relase Date: 1 June 2018
Director: Bart Layton
Runtime: 1h 56min
Movie Bio : Bart Layton’s first narrative film is a 2003-set true-crime thriller starring Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner and Jared Abrahamson. One of the most esoteric and far-fetched crimes in 21st century annals is recounted in dazzling fashion in American Animals. Borrowing from the best but, at the same time, forging a bold style all his own, British filmmaker Bart Layton, known for his highly successful, U.S.-set 2012 documentary The Imposter,again turns to the history of bizarre American crimes to relate a story that would be hard to invent. While bowing to modern stalwarts of the genre like Michael Mann, Oliver Stone and, above all, Quentin Tarantino, Layton employs the contents of his own large bag of tricks to tell a tale both engrossing and grotesque. This is an indie that could go places.
Layton impudently signals from the outset that he’s not playing the game by the conventional rules when alternating titles announce that “This Is” and “This Is Not Based on a True Story.” Striking opening moments devoted to illustrations of birds of prey and young guys disguising themselves to look older further suggest something unusual is in the works.
And so it is, as the film charges out of the gate in 2003 to expose the roots of a heist unusual both by its very nature and by the characters and motives that lay behind it. Best buds Spencer (Barry Keoghan) and Warren (Evan Peters) have remained in hometown Lexington, Kentucky, to attend Transylvania University. They seem both bright and restless, unsure what they want to do with their lives but certainly equipped with enough smarts and advantages to make a go at whatever they might choose to pursue.
One of the prides of the school is the special collections library, which notably includes original editions of John James Audubon’s extraordinary Birds of America as well as a unique Darwin volume. For no particular reason, it dawns on the boys that it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to steal these books from under the nose of the archive’s librarian (Ann Dowd) and make a small fortune from their sale.