We received an invite from a friend to catch the premiere of American Animals in New York.
Our friend is married to one of the film’s producers, and we thought it would be a great way to catch up with her while celebrating her husband’s achievement.
What we didn’t know is how good the film was going to be – and that American Animals is a refreshing return to independent cinema and an instant cult classic.
American Animals is based on an actual heist, and follows the exploits of four young men who devise and execute a plan to steal treasured books from a university library in Kentucky.
The film is inventive and stylish, intersplicing appearances by the real criminals and their families to move the story forward.
By the time the caper happens, you’re absorbed. And when the movie ends, there are questions and themes that still puzzle and linger.
What was the real reason that motivated four men to break bad and “cross the line”? Were the criminals’ memories accurate? Was there an actual ringleader?
Directed by Bart Layton, and starring Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Jared Abrahamson and Blake Jenner, American Animals is about friendship, family, crime, and the breakdown of the American Dream.
While we think the ending could have been paced differently — and also could have benefited from occasionally switching the focus from the four main actors to the law enforcement officials trying to catch them — it’s a must-see, expertly-shot and well-acted, a masterful break from summer reboots and sequels, and one more reason to support new talent and original storytelling.
Rating (one to five whistles, five being the best): Four Whistles
How to Watch: Fandango
Lead-In Image and Movie Poster (American Animals) Courtesy of The Orchard
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