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American Animals (2018)

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Four young men mistake their lives for a movie and attempt one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history.

Director:

Bart Layton

Writer:

Bart Layton
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Popularity
1,754 ( 54)
6 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Reinhard Spencer Reinhard ... The Real Spencer Reinhard
Warren Lipka Warren Lipka ... The Real Warren Lipka
Eric Borsuk Eric Borsuk ... The Real Eric Borsuk
Chas Allen ... The Real Chas Allen
Betty Jean Gooch Betty Jean Gooch ... The Real Betty Jean 'BJ' Gooch (as Betty Jean 'BJ' Gooch)
Evan Peters ... Warren
Blake Jenner ... Chas
Barry Keoghan ... Spencer
Jared Abrahamson ... Eric
Eddie King ... Male Art Professor
Karen Wheeling Reynolds Karen Wheeling Reynolds ... Female Art Professor (as Karen Reynolds)
James Rackley James Rackley ... Active
Drew Starkey ... Frat Boy
Anthony J. Police ... Man with Gun
Ann Dowd ... Betty Jean 'BJ' Gooch
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Storyline

In this crime drama, four bright and well-off college students in Kentucky plot to steal some rare books from their university's Special Collections Library in a misguided quest for personal glory. Based on the story, the film includes interviews with the foursome who attempted the bizarre heist. Starring Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson and Ann Dowd.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nobody wants to be ordinary See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, some drug use and brief crude/sexual material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Dutch

Release Date:

14 August 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Animals See more »

Filming Locations:

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$134,793, 3 June 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,856,954, 30 August 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2:39:1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Darren Keith revealed Warren asked him for help with the heist as well but he denied the offer in hopes of pursuing his acting career. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, when it is explaining what each character is up to now, the text says that Charles Allen II is "writing a book on prison workout regimes." It should be "regimens". A "regime" refers to governments or periods of rule, whereas a "regimen" refers to exercise or any other scheduled activity. See more »

Quotes

Eric Borsuk: How can I tell you if I'm in or I'm out without telling me the first thing about what I might be in or out of.
See more »

Connections

References The Italian Job (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Who by Fire
Written by Leonard Cohen
Performed by Leonard Cohen
Published by Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment Canada
Licensed by Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A brilliant and effective mesh of two cinematic styles
7 April 2019 | by austincoleman-66971See all my reviews

I was skeptical and slightly confused from the jump. It would obviously be safer to choose to make this pure drama or documentary, but Layton (who is clearly in control the entire time) chooses to dip his toes in both. Somehow, it works seamlessly.

The performances are great and being able to hear from the actual people at strategic times adds an element to characterization that many films can't achieve. We don't just get to see the bad choices made, but we get look inside what is behind those choices.

Our four courageous characters do make stupid choices and are unlikable at times, but news flash: 90+% of kids their age think and sometimes act the same way. Not being able to support their actions should not detract from the quality of the film, since it doesn't even seem like they are heralded as heroes because of what they did, but rather how they have grown from it over a decade later.

Ultimately, American Animals is a story of redemption. We see these four students wrestle with a fear that so many emerging adults can identify with: being ordinary. How they decided to overcome this fear had major consequences, and being able to hear from them personally takes us inside their hearts and minds in a way that wouldn't otherwise get us there.

Clearly, the boys feel regret for what they did even in the midst of exciting ambition. Nearly 15 years later, they are continuing to learn from the biggest mistake of their lives and doing the best they can to turn it into something good.

American Animals is about as authentic as a film can come. The fact that this is not a fictional story is amazing, and the way it is told invites us to put ourselves in the characters shoes. If we choose to do so, there is much to be learned.


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