American Animals | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated R · 116 minutes · 2018

Crime drama, Thriller
“This is not based on a true story,” say the onscreen titles at the beginning; “This is a true story.” A bold assertion, but Bart Layton, whose previous film was the unbelievably engrossing documentary Impostor, makes a strong case with his narrative debut, about a 2004 incident in which four college kids tried to pull off a heist of rare books. Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters play the two main dopes, overachieving Spencer and slacker Warren, who half-jokingly come up with the idea to rob the university library’s collection, only to have that half-joke evolve into a real (but not very good) plan. As a heist film, it spins its wheels for too long, forgetting that these guys are short-sighted buffoons to whom we have little emotional connection. But Layton’s master stroke is incorporating real interviews with the actual guys into the story, even having them interact with the movie versions of themselves. He blends documentary and dramatization in a way I don’t think I’ve seen before, allowing each half to comment on the other and turning an otherwise so-so true-crime dramedy into something noteworthy.
Staff Rating:
Director: Bart Layton
Producer: Derrin Schlesinger, Katherine Butler, Dimitri Doganis, Mary Jane Skalski, Daniel Battsek, David Kosse, Sam Lavender, Len Blavatnik, Aviv Giladi, Toby Hill, Piers Vellacott, Tory Metzger and Darren Demetre
Cast: Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Jared Abrahamson, Blake Jenner, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier, Gary Basaraba, Lara Grice, Jane McNeill and Wayne Duvall

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Charleston City Paper American Animals is a heist movie relieving its protagonists of their privileged white boy blues In 2001, during part of MTV's annual spring break, VJ Carson Daly welcomed to the stage semi-rising pop star Willa Ford to perform her hit track "I Wanna Be Bad." by Kevin Young 06/20/2018

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