American Animals

Coming to Cinemas 25 October 2018

Nobody wants to be ordinary.

Evan Peters (X-Men: Apocalypse) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer's Barry Keoghan star in this true story heist thriller, told in part by the actual men who committed the crime. Nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. From the director of 2012's The Imposter.

Four university students (Peters, Keoghan, Blake Jenner, and Jared Abrahamson) living an ordinary existence brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in US history. But not everything is as it seems, and as the daring theft unfolds through each of their perspectives, each of them starts to question whether their attempts to inject excitement and purpose into their lives is simply a misguided attempt at achieving the American Dream.


Directed by

  • Bart Layton('The Imposter', 'Locked Up Abroad', 'Becoming Alexander')

Written by

Crime, Drama


Rating: R13 Violence, drug use & offensive language


It’s difficult to describe the second film by writer/director Bart (The Imposter) Layton without making it sound a) like a lot of other films, or b) shit. It’s Man On Wire meets Fight Club; Ocean’s Eleven via American Honey; Tarantino with teens. See?

A heist flick based on a true story, the film follows students Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters and accomplices as they plan, prep and mount a daring (not to mention extraordinarily dim-witted) robbery on their university library. The prize? Some priceless books on evolution by Charles Darwin and John James Audobon. The chance of getting away with it? Practically zero.

As a thriller, it’s funny, fast and tongue-chewingly tense. The performances are excellent, with the presence of Ann (Aunt Lydia) Dowd a gold-standard guarantee of quality. The soundtrack, from Elvis to Rodriguez, is your new please-everyone Spotify playlist. And the cinematography is both striking and thought-provoking. Witness the moment when, on the drive to the robbery, the image flips upside down, like the boys’ lives are about to. But Layton has an ace up his sleeve even if the characters don’t.

Throughout the film, he cuts away to interviews with the real-life perpetrators, their parents and victims. Material this strong would probably have worked as straight-ahead fiction, but these documentary elements add pathos and perspective to the rapidly unravelling action, elevating the film from entertainment to a meditation on truth and trust. If that all sounds a bit heavy, fear not. For the most part, you’ll be digging your nails into the arm-rest so hard you won’t notice.

Hollywood Reporter


A crackerjack real-life heist thriller.

Screen International


A supremely-crafted doc/fiction hybrid which is genuinely innovative, pleasingly entertaining and deliciously more than the sum of its parts.

Variety (USA)


A riveting college-boy crime caper that tiggers along on pure movie-movie adrenaline, before U-turning into a sobering reflection on young male privilege and entitlement.



The heist genre is one that's been done to death, but with American Animals, filmmaker Bart Layton manages to pull off something wholly unique.

Los Angeles Times


While the participants in "American Animals" only imagine they're different, the film about them is the real deal.

New York Times


There is something soulless and mechanical about "American Animals," as if it had been made by a Martin Scorsese smartphone app and scored to a Spotify classic rock playlist.

Rolling Stone


The holes in the script are a pesky issue, but filmmaker Bart Layton's blend of recreations and real-life participants commenting on the action gives this true-crime comedy an edge.

better than ocean's eleven

best heist thriller movie i have seen in a long time




Truly sensational

it's thrilling, compelling and truly sensational; with its dark and poignant theme along with its brilliant directing.