American Animals

First Hit: Interesting in that it shows, how many under 25-year-old men think and act. 

Friendships among young men can be very influential. As childhood friends Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan) are still friends as they enter college. Warren was the more wild, entertaining, and reckless of the two. Together they had a symbiotic bond.

With Warren supposedly going to college on an athletic scholarship and Spencer being drawn towards art, they still hang out, smoke pot and try things together. When Spencer goes into the special collection book room at the Transylvania College Library, he’s struck by the amazing paintings in the displayed Audubon books. Thinking they are valuable, along with others in the collection, including one by Charles Darwin, kiddingly he wonders outloud to Spencer about their value and what he'd do with the money.

Hatching a plan to steal and fence the books, the plan starts a life of its own. Throughout the planning process, Spencer thinks that they will come across an obstacle that will require them to quit thinking they can pull off the job. They don’t. For each obstacle, they find a solution including bringing on two others to help them; brainiac Eric Borsuk (Jared Abrahamson) and rich boy Chas Allen (Blake Jenner).

The film follows them as the plot and work their way through the obstructions from making this robbery work. One of those items was who was going to neutralize the woman guarding the special collections, Betty Jean Gooch (Ann Dowd).

All their planning, partially induced by watching robbery films, turns out to be not as through as they had hoped, which resulted in poorly executed robbery.

One of the better things in this film were the occasional interviews with the real thieves, Gooch, and parents of the boys. What made this even more interesting was that I thought the real young men might have made a better film as they were all personable and film friendly, especially Warren.

Peters was good as Warren. He didn’t quite have the wild-eyed look of the real Warren, but it worked. Keoghan was strong as the conscious one of the group. His hesitating nature make his role work. Abrahamson was strong as the quiet, smart, and a slightly dark brooding Borsuk. The real Borsuk ended up becoming a writer. Jenner as the amped up Allen was intense and supercharged. I thought he did a good job in this role. Dowd was very good as the special collections librarian. Bart Layton wrote an effective and interesting script. He also directed the film. Although I liked the use of having interviews with the real young men, it didn’t help the film because they might have been good in their own roles.

Overall: This was an interesting film especially because it was a true story.