‘We did it to feel special’
This took us completely by surprise. Some people like to avoid trailers completely, as often it can make the movie itself a whole lot better. When we saw heist film Logan Lucky, having not seen any trailers we were pleasantly surprised. A great fun, unique heist film was not what we were expecting. However with American Animals, having watched the trailer and seeing tweets saying to go see it ASAP, we were ridiculously hyped for what we thought was just another heist film. We had no idea how the true story was about to play out.
“This is not based on a true story,” comes up at the beginning of the film and “not based on” suddenly vanishes. Bart Layton was not here to create your average Hollywood true crime drama, he was here to tell it as it is, even if it meant people weren’t getting the heist movie they signed up for.
A documentary element was seamlessly blended into the film. Cutting back to the real guys telling the audience how they recall the events. The real life version of Evan Peters character Warren showing off his strange tattoos, to the real Spencer sat in front of a bunch of tools makes us realise they are just normal guys, and really they are, but we are often reminded in stages through the film when it cuts to the real people that they convicted criminals who served 7 years in prison. Despite it being a movie on the crime they convicted, with the real guys telling their side of the story, their actions were in no way glorified. In fact, what it shows us is some of the characters’ deep reflections on their actions and allows us to sympathise with their stupidity while the film actually sympathies with the families and the victim of their crime. Bart Layton being able to have told this story in his way allowed their sides of the story to be told, acting as an explanation for what they did to the victim Betty Jean Gooch who, after researching this story straight after seeing this, we found out that having seen the film the librarian “actually loved the film and said after we showed it to her the she could actually begin to find a degree of forgiveness towards the guys after all this time”
(full article businessinsider.com)
In terms of performances all four main actors are amazingly compelling with Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan shining throughout the film and showing how talented they are. The actual heist is one of the most intense, infuriating most hilarious, sequence we have seen this year. Layton somehow manages to craft suspenseful moments better than any heist film we’ve seen. What impressed us was how he manages to shift the tones so smoothly. The film really stays with you after as it highlights the psychological aftermath of the heist and how this affected people morally and mentally, especially having the real victim Gooch have the last word on screen.
I could go on about this film forever, and highly recommend it. For us it is probably one of the best films of the year. It’s thrilling, funny, claustrophobic and a cinematic masterpiece that you must see. American Animals far exceeded our expectations and for that we give out our first: