American Animals

Guests Expected

Director Bart Layton expected to attend the April 11 screening.


Four friends hatch a scheme to steal several rare books from Transylvania University, Kentucky, in 2004, but as history will tell you, things don’t go according to plan. Based on a true story, this must-see-to-believe attempted burglary weaves fact and fiction to recount the foolish event from different perspectives. In an expert blend of storytelling by debut narrative filmmaker Bart Layton (The Imposter, 2012), up-and-coming actors Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, and Jared Abrahamson star alongside the real perpetrators.

“In American Animals, Layton brings that same preoccupation to a (mostly) narrative form for the first time, and 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. Performed with piss, vinegar, and some poignancy by a fractious quartet of bright young things — with the ever-more-intriguing Barry Keoghan first among equals — Layton’s crowd-pleasing Sundance competition entry is tricked out to the max with lithe structural fillips, flashes of cinematic quotation, and formal sleight of hand that gradually reveals a pointed thematic purpose.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

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. Layton has a flair for translating cerebral documentary concepts into the universally accessible language of cinematic suspense, and he finds a number of clever ways to blur the line between reality and his hyper-stylized version of it.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Director Bart Layton

Bart Layton has directed several documentaries for television, including Becoming Alexander (2005) and Locked Up Abroad (2007). He was awarded a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer for The Imposter (2012). He is also the creative director of RAW TV, a British production company.

Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 2018
  • Running time: 116
  • Director(s): Bart Layton
  • Producer(s): Derrin Schlesinger, Katherine Butler, Dimitri Doganis, Mary Jane Skalski
  • Writer(s): Bart Layton
  • Cinematographer(s): Ole Bratt Birkeland
  • Editor(s): Nick Fenton, Chris Gill
  • Music: Anne Nikitin
  • With: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson

Print Source:

The Orchard