Lexington, Kentucky, 2004: Spencer and Warren dream of remarkable lives beyond their middle-class suburban existence. They head off to colleges in the same town, haunted by the fear they may never be special in any way. Spencer is given a tour of his school’s incredibly valuable rare book collection and describes it all to Warren. Suddenly, it hits them—they could pull off one of the most audacious art thefts in recent history, from the university’s special collections library. Convinced they can get away with it, they recruit two other friends. Suddenly, the dance of knowing what happens if they cross the line becomes all-consuming. Buoyed by an exceptional cast led by Barry Keoghan (DUNKIRK, THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER), award–winning documentary director Bart Layton (THE IMPOSTER) makes a brilliant leap into the world of fiction, cleverly utilizing elements of nonfiction to propel the narrative. A true story, AMERICAN ANIMALS is both a thrilling heist film and an existential journey of four misguided young men searching in all the wrong places for identity, meaning, adventure and the kind of life that movies are made about.
“The results are sensational: a riveting college-boy crime caper that speeds along on pure movie-movie adrenaline, before U-turning into a sobering reflection on young male privilege and entitlement.” —Guy Lodge, Variety “[Layton] picks up the heist film and hurls it into new territory…a supremely-crafted doc/fiction hybrid which is genuinely innovative, pleasingly entertaining and deliciously more than the sum of its parts.” —Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily “One of the most esoteric and far-fetched crimes in 21st century annals is recounted in dazzling fashion in AMERICAN ANIMALS. Borrowing from the best but, at the same time, forging a bold style all his own, British filmmaker Bart Layton, known for his highly successful, U.S.-set 2012 documentary THE IMPOSTER, again turns to the history of bizarre American crimes to relate a story that would be hard to invent.” —Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
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