American Animals is a crime drama written and directed by Bart Layton which stars Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Blake Jenner, Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters. The film is based on the true story of a library heist that occurred in Lexington, Kentucky at Transylvania University in 2004.
My Expectation For American Animals
I never knew that this movie even existed until Matt Knost of The Top10 Show raved about it on a recent instalment of that podcast which he co-hosts with John Rocha. I decided to give American Animals a shot based on his adulation for it and I went into this film knowing nothing about it.
I had seen no trailers, knew none of the cast members by name or the true story on which this movie was based on. Sometimes, when this happens, the film in question can be a nice surprise in terms of its quality and I hoped that, as a bare minimum, I would be entertained by American Animals.
My Thoughts On American Animals
American Animals really surprised me with its quality and it is one of the most unique films I have seen in 2018 and possibly ever. I am so glad I went into this movie blind because it was the best possible thing for my experience with it. Indeed, knowing nothing about the real story made the plot of this film so much more interesting and compelling than if I knew specific details about the actual library heist that took place.
Undoubtedly, the thing I loved about American Animals the most was how, in a lot of ways, it was more of a documentary than a film based on a true story. Indeed, the young men who committed the library heist in real-life were interviewed for this movie and this footage was interwoven into the narrative of American Animals. This storytelling device was highly effective on a comedic, dramatic and thematic level.
I could not recollect any movie I had seen before this one that had told a story in this way which made American Animals a really different experience and I hope this storytelling device is used in more movies going forward. The way the narrative in American Animals was told also helped me to connect to the main characters and relate to all of them in a big way despite knowing that what they were doing was wrong. This was particularly the case for Warren (Evan Peters).
My Final Thoughts on American Animals
Ultimately, this all blended together in a hard-hitting way with the film’s sobering, philosophical ending. When American Animals had ended and the credits were rolling, I was struggling to think of any major, glaring flaws with it. If I had to be overly critical, I would say that it is not consistent with its pacing. Some parts of the movie flow better than others but this is a pretty minuscule nit-pick in the grand scheme of things.
It certainly does nothing to majorly detract from the quality of a great film. I hope American Animals is experienced by as large an audience as possible because films this unique in its storytelling as American Animals deserve it.