|Index||10 reviews in total|
Animals ; a movie with a haunting premise that lingers on in your head..Exposing us to the disturbing reality of addiction.. David had done a good job not only in front of the camera but also in the writing side..Innovate and Brave approach of the entire team to show the disturbing reality is admirable..This is one of the few drug addiction movies after "Requiem for a dream" and "Trainspotting" which is brutal and honest..Eye flickering and mouth closing visuals of gruesome reality of drug addiction and charming romantic scenes are perfectly blended and well placed.. This "INDIE" film is a worth watch and trust me you will live along with "Jude" and 'Bobbie"..Another independent film which will be an inspiration to future aspiring film makers and talents..An unforgettable piece of art : ANIMALS..
It's not often that a film comes along that accurately captures the
incredibly bleak and painful world of heroin addiction. Critically
acclaimed films like Trainspotting and Requiem For a Dream are quick to
come to mind, but fifteen long years have past since the subject has
been hit so emotionally and true to life. David Dastmalchian, the
film's writer and lead actor opposite of Kim Shaw, has taken his own
past experience and personal struggles with addiction and used it to
create a film that captures the day to day struggle an addict faces in
a fashion that is second to none.
I've been on methadone maintenance successfully for eleven years and over that time I've forgotten the horror's of my past or maybe buried would be a better term. So this film was real on a very personal level to me, it was as if I was reliving past experiences as events unfolded within the film. I've read that Dastmalchian worked with director Collin Schiffli for a number of years on this project and their devotion to the film shows in its execution. While it's not quite as artistic and visually spectacular as Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream, it held its own and it didn't romanticize the subject like certain films do. This film is just a small slice out of the life of an addict, what you see here is perfectly normal and it's a cycle of hell that just repeats itself daily. Nothing is stable, you're never ahead of tomorrow. It's nice to see that Dastmalchian has been one of the rare few who has escaped the trappings of addiction and went on to much better things in life. In this case writing his first script and taking the lead in Animals, a film that is certainly worth a look.
Jude and Bobbie are a pair of drug addicts living in their car.
Supposedly they're in love, but each day their first priority is to
find the drugs required to feed their habit. They finance this dismal
lifestyle through scams and thieving, and as the days pass they become
increasingly squalid, reckless and pathetic.
The two lead characters seem to care for each other, and the actors' performances are intense and convincing, making it a grueling task to watch them destroy their minds and bodies. Their story has a shallow narrative arc, and doesn't possess much upbeat content, comprising a catalog of minor disasters which spiral inexorably downwards. Sympathy for their dilemma is diluted since the script provides only vague hints what led them onto this dangerous and self-destructive path. The conclusion does offer a glimmer of hope, but the main point of 'Animals' seems to be a cautionary tale warning others not to follow this miserable way of life. The heroin epidemic currently raging across America provides ample justification for this type of material. Hopefully it will have a positive effect.
Jude (David Dastmalchian) and Bobbie (Kim Shaw) are drug addicts. They
steal and pull small cons in order to get the next fix. They drift
through the world on their own struggling to get by. They suffer
illnesses and get robbed by avenging cops. Sometimes their cons don't
go well. Jude gets hospitalized and they must face their impending
This is a simple druggie couple movie without too much flash. Dastmalchian doesn't write big scenes in this and he has the feel of a drug addict. Shaw brings a little vulnerability to her role. It's a well made indie with good solid performances on a well worn story path.
The woes of a young couple addicted to cocaine and drifting through a
homeless existence in Chicago may not sound like an enticing piece of
entertainment. In fact, it threatens to be one of those earnest but
dreary "social problems" dramas you might go to only out of a vague
sense of obligation. And the title, "Animals," doesn't help matters.
Surprisingly, and pleasingly, "Animals" proves to be not only a movie that's "good for you" but also a movie which engrosses and entertains in an easy manner which seems deceptively effortless. Much of this credit goes to the two leads, David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw, and to the script (by Dastmalchian) which shows us the various ways these two survive through guile and petty crime. You don't approve of what they do and you certainly don't envy their lives and yet they retain a likable quality and don't seem to be that far removed from our own selves.
Each of the supporting characters is well-cast and effective.
Those seeking a movie which veers from the usual multiplex offerings would be well-advised to consider "Animals."
Drug addiction movies that I can recall often depict the characters in
a crazy state to get their fix so they can have the best trip ever.
These drug films don't often show the hunger for the drug fix that
Collin Schiffli's Animals explores. Our heroes, Jude and Bobbi, need to
eat, sleep and get heroin. They need it to survive and they can't get
it alone. So they stick together. One pulls the other down and together
they crash and burn. It's pretty sad
But Animals is charming. Jude and Bobbi are pretty fun to hang out with. That's what it feels like, hanging out with a pretty cool couple. But when they aren't on their fix, they fall into a pretty depressing state. Schiffli does a good job balancing the tone of the film. David Dastmalchian is so charming (who would have thought after playing such creepy characters in Prisoners and Dark Knight?). Kim Shaw is amazing! She kept making me want to cry. How could someone so beautiful and sweet like Bobbi fall into a situation like this? The problem points to Dastmalchian's Jude!
Dastmalchian wrote this from his true life as a former heroin addict and it makes the experience all the more rewarding. I've been hearing some people call Animals a clichéd drug movie. I think that viewpoint makes you realize how addiction is still a problem and drug films haven't really shown it like this. Again, most drug films show the fun of the fix before the characters crash and burn. This film shows the reality of it.
PS This indie film is low budget and it doesn't look low budget at all! This is the game- changing movie that could have Hollywood running for their money. If an independent filmmaker such as Collin Schiffli (like David Robert Mitchell with It Follows) can make a low budget film that looks and feels as big as a studio movie, then there is a change on the horizon for the studio system.
"I eat your tears and I save them right up in my belly. I'm Popeye.
Your tears are my spinach. They make me strong. That's not fair. I'm
the one who might have cancer. I need spinach."
Are you looking for a movie that'll make you instantly happy or that'll make your heart beat faster because of the tension? Look further, because "Animals" doesn't fulfill these requirements whatsoever. What a tremendously depressing and slow film this is. A sketch of two hopeless cases living on the edge of society and whose desolate life only consists of committing petty crimes in order to provide money for their basic needs : a daily dose of heroin or a line of coke. They drive around all day in a dilapidated car and try to kill their time with useless activities such as their daily visit to the zoo. The only thing you wonder after a while is whether or not their relationship is solely based on their stubborn addiction.
I remember being shocked after watching "Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo" when I was younger. This was also such a depressing film about the devastating effect of heroin and the certainty that those who used it would eventually die from an overdose. "Animals" didn't leave me unmoved either. Even though it sometimes felt more easy-going and you'll be spared from sickening images of withdrawal symptoms. Jude (David Dastmalchian) and Bobbie (Kim Shaw) have a whole series of scamming tricks they use regularly on innocent people, to get some money. And when they succeed in it, the money is gone in the shortest time. All spent on some precious bags full of white powder. And every time when they've used the drugs, they realize that life can't continue like this. That they should find a way out. This was the last time they used again. Especially when they bump into a couple of corrupt policemen who expropriate their hard-earned money and little bit of drugs. But when the first withdrawal symptoms appear, it's back to the same old routine.
I do like survival films, but not exactly this kind of survival films. Ultimately, this is nothing but a portrait of two people trying to survive. It was terrible to see how far they would go out of despair. They both realize all too well what state they are in. They even wonder how they've ended up in this situation. Two white Americans with a proper education and both reasonably intelligent. In the end they compare it with the stupidity of birds that keep flying into the same window time after time. So it's dismissed as just their own stupidity and that's that. So despite the awareness and sometimes rising urge to quit, the two of them can't make that crucial step towards salvation from this deadly sh*t.
Fortunately I don't have any experience with such drugs. Though other experiences are kind of similar to Jude's and Bobbie's hopeless addiction. The renditions of David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw seemed to me realistic enough. Superb acting and wonderful to see how they shift between different moods all the time. Even the physical appearances of these two addicts changes in a convincing manner as they exhibit withdrawal symptoms. Jude is an intelligent young guy, but he's also unreliable and selfish. Bobbie usually looks like a real slob, until they are doing the call girl trick and she starts to dress up. At that moment she reincarnates into a wonderful and beautiful looking woman. The supporting roles are of secondary importance as they come and go. The entire film focuses on the two main characters only.
Eventually, the whole film is just a series of fragments about human decay, despair and misery. And this interspersed with brief flashbacks (with drugs always in a leading role) and moments when the duo tries to get money. Until disaster strikes and then it goes straight to the denouement. And that's where this movie moved me. That specific moment proves that there's indeed still a close and intimate bond between those two. An endearing gesture. Perhaps a glimmer of hope for success. "Animals" is a moving film that contains a kind of twisted love story, showing how an animal instinct seizes a human being whose body screams for drugs. What a sublime movie!
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A drama about the relationship of a young couple, Jude and Bobbie, who
live in their car and support their drug habit in a matter-of- fact way
through shoplifting and scams, until their situation turns sufficiently
sour for them to re-evaluate. It sounds bleak, but there's enough
humanity and compassion shown to carry it through so we don't give up
There are fantastic performances from the leads, writer/producer David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw, who convince as a couple who care deeply for each other despite the occasional flashes of selfishness that ring true as symptoms of addiction. The supporting cast are all good too, including John Heard in a small but significant role as a security guard.
Director/producer Collin Schiffli and DP Larkin Donley also do great jobs. I loved an early transition from a view out from an apartment window to the reality of the car windshield.
Be warned, there are graphic images of drug use, including injecting into the neck and groin, and a desperate moment on a filthy bathroom floor that made me wince.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow! All I can say is wow! Animals was the most true to life drug story I have ever seen. Animals takes the audience on the day to day journey of the struggles that an addict faces daily in ones life. David Dastmalchian is a force to be reckoned with, with a performance that exudes greatness, he is now my favorite actor. Animals was written and directed beautifully too, I was entertained frame by frame and did not want the movie to end. Please if you have not seen this movie you must, because if you have anyone in your family struggling with addiction, you may get a better understanding when watching this film how it is to get caught up with a drug that is so powerful.
As far as heroin addiction movies go this is far more similar to
'Candy' than Requiem for a Dream or Trainspotting as it follows the
romance between two lovers who have fallen into the depths of
I had rather high hopes for this movie but felt it falling short compared to other romantic junkie flicks like Candy as the movie is a 'character piece' exploring the couples daily struggles rather than having a strong plot/storyline.
I normally love explorative character movies but these particular addicts just weren't particually interesting and I felt the dialog fell a little flat. Either the movie could of done with an extra half an hour of dialog or more of a story/obstacle for the protagonists to overcome.
If you enjoy films on addiction then you will probably enjoy this one but just go in knowing its not up to the standard of Candy or Trainspotting as neither the characters or plot are quite as deep.
I can only imagine the novel is far better as it would give the writer far more time to explore the highs and lows of addiction as well as drawing the viewer into caring more for the characters involved.
Overall I'd give it a 6.5 out of 10.
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