Hot Take: A mix of crime drama and documentary with a whole lot of love for the heist movie sub-genre chock full of references to classic heist films or films featuring heists. Smart and fascinating with a combination of humor and suspense.
Mark Twain once assessed, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” American Animals is the latest evidence that Twain was spot on with his assessment. The docudrama about a group of college students who attempted to rip off the Transylvania University’s special collections library in 2004 blends a young, talented cast and their real-life counterparts who re-tell the story documentary style. It has a ring of I, Tonya to it, if I, Tonya were to actually feature the real Tonya Harding, Jeff Gillooly and LaVona Golden. American Animals also shows writer/director Bart Layton’s love of the heist sub-genre as the film is littered with homages and hat tips to some of the more iconic heist films over the years including The Thomas Crown Affair, Ocean’s 11, Reservoir Dogs and even the heist scene from The Dark Knight. It’s the stylistic choices by Layton that drives the film as we’ve seen so many heist movies in the past, even ones based on actual heists, so Layton’s blend of his own style with films that likely acted as inspiration for the criminals surprisingly makes it refreshing and fun to watch despite the film’s darker, more nihilistic overtones.Read More →