‘American Animals’: A Brilliant Portrayal of a True Story

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

American Animals is one of my favorite films I’ve seen this year. From the way the story is told, to the brilliant acting, I absolutely loved it.

American Animals tells the true story of four college students, played by Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Jared Abrahamson, and Blake Jenner, who attempt to carry out an art heist.

This film is one of the best tellings of a true story I have ever seen. They have the unique element of having the actual people talking about what they remember from the heist and what happened leading up to it, and then the actors act it out. This unique way of breaking the fourth wall is similar to that of I, Tonya which featured interviews, but in American Animals it is from the actual people themselves.

I loved this element of the film because it gave the story more credibility to have the actual people guiding the story. Also, if some of the actual people remembered the story differently the actors would act out both versions which I found to be the most honest telling of the story the filmmakers could possibly give.

The direction in this film, done by Bart Layton, was phenomenal. The way it was shot worked to convey the emotion of a certain part of the film. For most of the film the shots were slow and calculated to illustrate the calm meticulous planning of this heist, yet during and after the heist the shots shifted to fast and frantic to illustrate the panic and frenzy following the heist.

Honestly, Evan Peters deserves an Academy Award for his performance in this film. He plays Warren, who is basically the mastermind and driving force behind the heist. His character is quite complex as he is seen as simple minded by society, yet plans out this whole art heist. Not only is he emotionally all over the place, but he provides a lot of the comedic relief throughout the film and Peters does this perfectly. Which is especially evident when you see an interview with the real Warren switch over to Evan Peters acting out a scene.

This film really had balance. It had intrigue, as it was based on a true story. It had comedic relief throughout the film, and it had the right amount of intensity and suspense that kept you on the edge of your seat.

 
American Animals comes out on June 1st, and if you don’t see it you are really missing out on one of the most intriguing and brilliantly told films based on a true story.


My Rating: 94%

Acting: 4/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4

 

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