Critic Reviews



Based on 40 critic reviews provided by
This is unabashedly virtuoso, show-off filmmaking, as cocky as the misguided young men at the film’s center, who, at least for a period, saw their lives as a Hollywood romp in itself.
Both as a writer and director, Layton delivers the dramatic goods here with the skill of a pro at the top of his game while adding the rueful perspective of time's reassessment of youthful indiscretions; this has to rate among the most accomplished and fully realized big-screen debuts of recent times.
American Animals requires many cuts and perspectives which are second-nature to an accomplished documentarian, yet the drama here also seems effortless and seamlessly integrated.
American Animals is a tense, taut sober and occasionally silly thriller that reminds us that the Caribbean Island at the end of the Hollywood heist is always a mirage.
A movie seemingly custom-made for the era of alternative facts, American Animals feels like a new kind of true-crime thriller: one that shamelessly rewrites its truths in real time as it goes.
For all its mode-bending gamesmanship, American Animals is ultimately a fairly straightforward heist movie, albeit a stylish and engaging one.
The Film Stage
American Animals is a legitimately exciting, funny, suspenseful, and at one point deeply upsetting crime film, ably demonstrating a command of genre trappings in service of a narrative about people warped by those very clichés.
Slant Magazine
As he showed in "The Imposter," writer-director Bart Layton knows how to spin a compelling yarn.
American Animals is fiercely entertaining from start to finish, even when its characters are acting so dumb that you start to suspect they still have some more evolving to do.
All four actors are perfectly fine here, but the set-up is predictably conventional.

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