Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Jared Abrahamson, Evan Peters, Blake Jenner and Barry Keoghan in American Animals.

  • American Animals
  • Written and directed by: Bart Layton
  • Starring: Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters
  • Classification: 14A; 116 minutes

rating

2.5 out of 4 stars

The heist film offers an irresistible recipe for filmmakers. Take a handful of character actors, add one or two fake-out twists, a pinch of tension, and a dash of moxie, and voila: You have a half-decent, totally watchable movie. Bart Layton’s American Animals takes those well-worn genre instructions – already exploited this year to varying results with Ocean’s 8, Den of Thieves, and The Hurricane Heist – and adds his own come-from-nowhere surprise: documentary footage. About 75 per cent of American Animals features a cast of recognizable young actors (Dunkirk’s Barry Keoghan, X-Men’s Evan Peters) playing a group of young ne’er-do-wells attempting to steal a copy of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, one of the most valuable rare books in the world. The other quarter of the film, though, consists of talking-head interviews with the real-deal crooks who inspired the tale. It’s not an unprecedented technique – documentarian icon Errol Morris produced a similar effort with this year’s Netflix series Wormwood – but it is a jarring one, and not quite as subversive as Layton would like audiences to believe. When Keoghan and Peters are onscreen, their performances are compelling enough, as is most of Layton’s narrative script – adding in the doc footage feels less revolutionary, and more like easy filler. It’s enough to feel, well, a bit robbed.

American Animals opens June 22 in Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies