American Animals

Documentarian Bart Layton blurs the line between reality and fiction in his persuasive heist drama.

So as to comprehend why four young, middle-class, white guys from Kentucky would hazard severe jail time by sneaking some of the planet’s most precious books from their college library, manager Bart Layton shrewdly chooses to combine fiction and reality.

The actual guys look in interviews to every offer their version of events, their diverging testimonies working since the ever-shifting building blocks of their fictionalisation which Layton poses with a cast of brilliant actors. Both masterminds are Barry Keoghan as Spencer Reinhard, a young reporter concerned that his lifetime is too boring and safe to make him a fantastic artist, along with also the excellent Evan Peters playing poor boy Warren Lipka, constantly up for sending a’fuck you’ to the machine. Creating their delusions of grandeur obviously observable, this story device is much more than a gimmick: they’re literally the celebrities of their own picture.

Looking back into the classics of crime theatre, depiction isn’t always endorsement, but denying the allure of, say, Sterling Hayden’s hardboiled burglar in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing will be disingenuous. Glamorously defying society has ever been an appealing attribute of theatre, and also the (literary )personalities of American Animals also have succumbed to the appeal of gangster films.
What distinguishes them from you and I’m that they kept their suspension of disbelief after the ending credits — or never suspended it in the first place, rather taking Kubrick’s high-flying action at face value. Inspired by the personalities of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, Reinhard and Lipka, together with added muscle in the shape of Eric Borsuk (Jared Abrahamson) and Chas Allen (Blake Jenner), proposed and implemented, in 2004, among the most daring and ridiculous heists in contemporary history.

The juxtaposition of fiction and documentary filmmaking in American Animals shows that the dangerous power of creativity. After Reinhard got it into his mind he could steal precious items that Danny Ocean wouldn’t hesitate to stealthily create it just took Lipka’s bravado to get the snowball rolling. Soon , their lives became absorbed by planning the perfect robbery. Layton goes much farther in his assault on self-fictionalisation. Erasing the line between fantasy and fact, he gets the real-life protagonists confront the plausibility of the subjective recollections with them enter his reenactments and speak to their own impersonators.

This barbarous confrontation is simultaneously exhilarating and spooky. Opening up new possibilities for’based on a true story’ narrative theater, it reminds us of our inevitable responsibility into the fact: the guys soon realise none of them understand exactly what occurred because each was overly preoccupied with his very own’reality’.

When a bystander is hurt from the group’s absurd and profoundly selfish actions, Layton contributes into the talking heads because the young guys wake to reality. Shaken from the daydreams, they’re finally out of wordssobbing and trying to prevent the camera’s inevitable gaze. In the ridiculous story of four self-centred and exhausted buddies, Layton has produced a highly effective hybrid movie which decries, together with interesting panache and urgency, the absolute nonsense of’other facts’.