Writer/director Bart Layton’s debut feature is a wildly entertaining docu-fiction hybrid about four young men who attempt one of the most audacious art-heists in history. American Animals is an unbelievable but true story of four college students who are determined to transcend their boring middle class existence.
“Sensational! A riveting college-boy crime caper that speeds along on pure movie-movie adrenaline, before U-turning into a sobering reflection on young male privilege and entitlement.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
They hatch a plot to pull off an incredible heist: stealing a number of incredibly valuable volumes from their college’s under-protected rare books collection. Using a great cast of young talents like Barry Keoghan and Blake Jenner, Layton’s brilliant strategy is to also incorporate the four actual subjects who attempted the 2004 burglary into the film. Older, and perhaps wiser, these four men reflect on their past foolish misdeeds, frequently contradicting each other in their Rashomon-like testimonies. Quite unlike any other heist film, American Animals is an energetic, boundary-pushing thriller, from the director of the acclaimed 2012 documentary, The Imposter. (Dir. by Bart Layton, 2017, UK/USA, 116 mins., Rated R)