Michael Ward on Monday, May 21



Director Bart Layton's follow up to his genre-defying 2012 documentary The Imposter, is a fascinating true crime thriller about four college friends who sketch out a plan to steal rare and highly valued art prints and rare books from Transylvania University. 

Whereas The Imposter found a real-life story so outrageous it was hard to believe, he mines similar territory here with American Animalsmixing actors and their real-life counterparts into a hybrid film that blurs the lines of fictionalized storytelling and documentary filmmaking.

Though not as sharply constructed as The Imposter, Layton is a masterful filmmaker, who can accelerate or decelerate at will, leaving us constantly on edge and guessing what may come next.

The performances from the quartet of actors embodying the real-life students unfortunately plays a bit uneven, with performances feeling disjointed from one another and chemistry serving as a struggle at times. With that said, the story is so compelling and the movie so masterfully put together, we remain gobsmacked by the story American Animals tells us.

Starring: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier, Warren Lipka, Spencer Reinhard, Chas Allen, Eric Borsuk.
Director: Bart Layton
Written by: Bart Layton
Running Time: 116 MInutes

May 19 | SIFF Cinema Uptown | 9:00 PM
May 20 | Pacific Place | 1:30 PM