Starring: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Udo Kier, Ann Dowd
Written By: Bart Layton
Directed By: Bart Layton
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Another movie I haven’t heard of but it sounded interesting when I read the description so why not, worth a look. I’m glad I saw it because it was definitely interesting and shot really well too.
The movie is based on a true story, even though they sort of say it isn’t. It’s about Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan) and Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) who decide to do something with their lives. The guys want to pull off a huge heist like in the movies. They recruit Chas Allen (Blake Jenner) and Erik Borsuk (Jared Abrahamson) to help out. They decide to steal a bunch of rare books including giant Audubon books from a college library in Kentucky. Of course things don’t go as plan and they have to improvise to try to make things right.
I never knew about this story or maybe I just forgot about it when it was in the news. It sounded interesting regardless and it certainly was. It was shot really cool because one minute you’d have the movie and then Bart Layton would cut to the real life Spencer, Warren and others and give their take on things. So it was part documentary, part drama in a way. Besides the interviews, there was just certain shots that looked really cool; you can definitely tell that Bart was an indie filmmaker or documentary filmmaker. This wasn’t just some typical heist movie, Bart made something new and fresh with his approach. As far as the story goes, it was certainly intriguing and you could sort of see where it was going in a way. It wasn’t necessarily predictable but I had a feeling it wasn’t going to end well for the guys.
Evan Peters was a highlight of the movie, and Barry Keoghan did a good job as well. It was rough watching the actual heist. Lots of facepalms. Plus it was tough to see what was happening to Ann Dowd. I felt bad for her, unlike her character in Handmaid’s Tale which I hope bad things happened to her. This isn’t just a drama, there is some funny moments or lines in American Animals. It’s kind of funny to me because one person would say this happened and swears by it, while another person said it happened another way. You kind of don’t know who to believe on what happened, which is why they were saying this is not (not) based on a true story.
There’s some deleted scenes, some featurettes, gallery and commentary in the extras. From what I could remember watching them, there wasn’t a whole lot of stuff to watch. Just some generic, fluff EPK kind of stuff. I was kind of annoyed that there wasn’t a digital code with the movie. Thought that was standard practice these days.
American Animals is a different kind of heist movie and one I enjoyed immensely. Evan Peters did an excellent job with the role of Warren and definitely was a standout role for him. The director Bart Layton really impressed me with his style and can’t wait to see what he does next. Give this movie a shot because it’s one of the better heist movies in recent memory!
Director and Cast Commentary
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Bottom Line: A different and very cool looking heist movie
Running Time: 116 mins