American Animals review by Bobby Blakey
I love films based on true events, but sadly they just don’t always work. Some of the stories are interesting in themselves, but the events leading up and after are not always something that really translates enough to keep you engaged. With American Animals starring Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Udo Kier, and Ann Dowd, director Bart Layton took a different approach to make this work. Could this heist be worth the trouble or will it fail to get checked out in time?
American Animals follows the true story of four friends living an ordinary existence who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in US history. But not everything is as it seems, and as the daring theft unfolds through each of their perspectives, each of them start to question whether their attempts to inject excitement and purpose into their lives is simply a misguided attempt at achieving the American Dream. This is a traditionally shot film with a script and actors to tell the story, but sprinkled throughout is a documentary style film featuring the real people telling their tale. It was interesting to see these guys essentially narrate their story through the movie itself.
The cast all do a great job bringing all the nuances and emotions needed to make you buy into the lives they live and the bad decisions that lead to the famed events. The film follows these guys from average everyday people into the events that would change their lives and manages to keep it interesting throughout even with the most mundane moments. Having the actual people interjecting periodically made the story all the more powerful as you get their real emotions about the events and how it has affected them now and those around them.
This is not an overly exciting film because it is just real life, but what they did was insane and seeing them relive it in this setting is really interesting and made for a much better film. With these films you always want to know the aftermath and here we get it right from their mouths and those that were there and/or affected as well as where they are now.