Keswick Film Club - American Animals

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Sunday 9th December 5:00 PM

American Animals 

Director: Bart Layton Country: USA
Cert: 15 Year: 2018 Length: 116 mins
American Animals

Programme Notes

Cinema Handout (PDF 112KB)

Audience Reaction

Score: 75.28% Attendance: 100




Partly a true-life crime drama, partly a comedy, director Bart Layton has certainly come up with a new way to view the classic heist movie. Rotten Tomatoes describes it as "The unbelievable but true story of four young men who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in US history. Determined to live lives that are out of the ordinary, they formulate a daring plan for the perfect robbery, only to discover that the plan has taken on a life of its own".

Warren and Spencer, a couple of college kids in 2004, inspired each other to set up 'the perfect crime', as much to prove to themselves that they were not just ordinary people as to make money. They decided to steal a rare, valuable book from their Kentucky university which was only guarded by the ageing book librarian. "[The kids'] meticulous preparations begin with typing "how to plan a heist" into Google and continue with watching every heist film ever made, though they manage to overlook the primary lesson of all such films - that something always goes wrong" - JR Jones, Chicago Reader.

The film starts off fairly light-heartedly but gets darker when the two would-be master criminals bring in two other friends to help (why would they need four people to steal one book from a helpless librarian..?). "By the time Warren's squaring his shoulders to taser the rare-books librarian (Ann Dowd, always a treat), 'American Animals' has veered from sorta-true-crime quasi-comedy into a Scorsese-inflected look at the realities of attempting a theft of this magnitude" - Sara Stewart, New York Post.

Whatever the genre of the film, it sounds like it should keep us talking after the event.


open_quote 'American Animals' is one of the year's smartest, most captivating films, and Layton stages it with the precision of a perfect crime close_quote Adam Graham, Detroit News.



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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

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