August Keller


American Animals is a chaotic ride of feckless purpose. From the onset, this film jumps into its audacious entertainment with a polished & gripping introduction sequence. From there, tension & liberation grow together as we join young men building towards their destructive destinies. Cleverly interweaving cinematic arrangements with real-life interviews, American Animals adds ample depth to a fairly basic story. Oddly enough, it is that same ambition of American Animals that might be its biggest flaw.

Possibly reaching beyond its bounds by the end, this film is far from perfect yet undeniably admirable. The pseudo-documentary moments come off as inferior storytelling at times but that is often overshadowed by snappy direction & the vibrant chemistry within the cast. The scoring, while not completely distinct, always contributes to American Animals’ trendy & tense vibe. Meanwhile, there are many flashy sequences & detailed presentation choices that give this film a memorable quality. However, American Animals is markedly good, not great because it doesn’t quite connect on its thematic messages; the writing, while hip and quippy, grasps at questionable layers of substance. American Animals is a gratifying ride that strives for more yet doesn’t always get where its trying to go. Ultimately, this movie is not a masterpiece but clearly worth the time.

Writing: 6/10
Direction: 8/10
Cinematography: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Editing: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Score/Soundtrack: 8/10
Production Design: 7/10
Casting: 9/10
Effects: 7/10

Overall Score: 7.6/10

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