It's the Summer movie season of 2018, and you're looking for a good heist film to watch. There are two choices. One is a serious look at how a heist could actually go down in real life, while the other one is an exaggerated take filled with glamorized moments of the crime. Needless to say, "American Animals" is the former, and it is very much a good heist film to watch because of it's realism.
First and foremost, Writer-Director Bart Layton had an interesting take on making this a pseudo documentary style film, that's mostly dramatization scenes, but mixed with interspersed interviews of the actual individuals involved in the true heist. Just the fact that this movie focuses on the actual people who did the crime, should automatically get a peculiar reaction from movie goers watching it. Is this film inadvertently rewarding them for the horrible act they committed? That's for you to discuss among yourselves.
As for the story itself, it is undoubtedly fascinating to watch. If it isn't already obvious, this is not a completely straightforward heist film, and doesn't necessarily have all the cliche trappings of the genre. It plays with perspective in interesting ways to make us question what we are watching, and yet it also feels completely honest in what they are showing us on screen. It's not devoid of providing fun humor to the narrative however, but it also doesn't shy away from showing us some very dark and horrible scenes.
While this heist is an actual true event that you can just Google, I'm still not going to talk about the plot turns and reveals. All I can say is that the story goes places I didn't think it would go, with scenarios you don't normally see in heist movies. The heist itself put me on the edge of my seat, was quite tense to watch, and is without a doubt the main reason to see this film. Well, I have to also say that other reasons to see this are for the amazing performances by Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Jared Abrahamson, Blake Jenner, and Ann Dowd.
There's always been a criticism that many people wrongly romanticize criminal activities, especially when the typical heist films are glamorizing the act of "choreographed" stealing. Usually those movies involves smart and cool criminals going through some elaborate theft that we want to applaud, but thankfully we also have films like "American Animals" that shows us the dumb and foolish criminals that has seen too many Hollywood heist movies.
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