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American Animals


Stars: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier

Director: Bart Layton

Two Kentucky university students in 2004 conceive the (daft) idea of stealing rare books from the facility's famous library. Don't they know that such items are surely impossible to sell?

Never mind, this is only a quasi-true heist story, however much the filmmakers may try to convince us otherwise, by using the real people, looking back on events, as well as actors in the main body of the narrative.

Confused? No need: this is all fairly straightforward, if told at a slowish pace. And, as you would predict, the immaculately conceived robbery proves in reality a messy affair, leading to a flight in which the robbers drop the two most valuable books - collections of Audubon's famous bird paintings - and don't even bother to retrieve them.

By this time, the would-be bandits have enlisted two of their fellows and, as we can see from the interviews with all four, sprinkled through the film, this is not going to end well.

No suspense, then, but decent acting - although the real people prove more charismatic than the actors playing them - in a highly original idea that never quite works.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: STX Entertainment. Colour (unspecified).
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 02 Sep 2018