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American Animals (15)


Crime drama in which four students plan to steal valuable books from a library.

The critical consensus

Running from entertaining to tense as hell, Layton’s docu-drama heist flick grapples with something that most capers can’t even begin to compute: consequences.

*****Matt Glasby, Total Film, 03/09/2018

Directed with urgency but also an overriding sense of loss and folly, American Animals is an interesting paradox: a cautionary tale that easily disabuses us of the notion that there's glamour in criminality, while itself being a stylish beast.

*****Emma Simmonds, The List, 03/09/2018

A documentary about the fictions we tell ourselves, a fiction about the reality we can never escape.

****(*)Manuela Lazic, Little White Lies, 03/09/2018

If this is what Layton can pull from a bunch of knuckleheads, we can only imagine what he could do with a film about smarter people.

****(*)Lana Murray, The Skinny, 06/09/2018

American Animals is sharp, smart, often bravura filmmaking, a terrifically entertaining mix of fast facts and pulp fiction. But beneath the flash is a sad story of teens who feel their lives simply aren’t good enough.

****(*)Ian Freer, Empire Online, 04/09/2018

Bart Layton’s true-crime heist caper about an incompetent plan to steal valuable books from a college library is a triumph.

*****Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 05/09/2018

We root for them one moment and pity or despise them the next. Whether seen through the prism of documentary or of drama, though, their actions seem equally crazy and distorted.

***(*)(*)Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent, 07/09/2018

A gripping and giggle-inducing yarn which if it were not for the severity of the crime and the trauma experienced by “B.J.” could almost be billed as a black comedy.

****(*)Peter Callaghan, Review Sphere, 19/09/2018

Engaging performances and strong direction prevent this docu-drama from misfiring.

***(*)(*)Adam Thornton, The Wee Review, 24/10/2018

Features about American Animals (15)

Director Bart Layton on heist film American Animals

Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 28/08/2018

Bart Layton: 'By the time I made contact with the real guys, they were in prison'.

Daniel Schindel, Little White Lies, 08/09/2018

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Friday October 19, 2018, until Thursday October 25, 2018. More info:

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