Overview: Spencer Reinhard, Warren Lipka, Eric Borsuk and Chas Allen are four friends who live an ordinary existence in Kentucky. After a visit to Transylvania University, Lipka comes up with the idea to steal the rarest and most valuable books from the school's library. As one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history starts to unfold, the men question whether their attempts to inject excitement and purpose into their lives are simply misguided attempts at achieving the American Dream.
Synopsis: "American Animals" is the unbelievable but entirely true story of four young men who attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. The film centers around two friends from the middle-class suburbs of Lexington, Kentucky. Spencer (Barry Keoghan) is determined to become an artist but feels he lacks the essential ingredient that unites all great artists—suffering. His closest friend, Warren (Evan Peters), has also been raised to believe that his life will be special and that he will be unique in some way. But as they leave the suburbs for universities in the same town, the realities of adult life begin to dawn on them and with that, the realization that their lives may in fact never be important or special in any way.
Determined to live lives that are out of the ordinary, they plan the brazen theft of some of the world's most valuable books from the special collections room of Spencer's college library. Enlisting two more friends, accounting major Eric (Jared Abrahamson) and fitness fanatic Chas (Blake Jenner), and taking cues from heist movies, the gang meticulously plots the theft and subsequent fence of the stolen artworks. Although some in the group begin to have second thoughts, they discover that the plan has seemingly taken on a life of its own.
Unfolding his narrative from multiple perspectives, and innovatively incorporating the real-life figures at the heart of the story, writer-director Bart Layton ("The Imposter") takes the heist movie into bold new territory.
What the critics are saying:
"'American Animals'" is a high-style caper that touches a deeper chord of youthful indiscretion and moral imbalance. You won't be able to stop talking about it."--Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"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
"The embrace of factuality's slippery nature lends the film a delirious headiness, turning what might otherwise have been just another true-crime story into something more philosophical and complex."--Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
Genre: comedy, drama, mystery & suspense • rated R (for language throughout, some drug use and brief crude/sexual material) • running time: 120 mins.
The 2018-19 AFS Screening Series at LPCA (Version 5.0) continues on Fridays and Saturdays, February 15-16 and March 15-16 and on Thursday and Saturday, May 2 & 4 (films TBA). To learn more about the AFS Screening Series at LPCA or other AFS programs and activities, please contact Operations Manager Fred Balzac at 518-523-3456 or 518-588-7275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.