Bart Layton’s 2012 documentary Impostor knocked a whole right through pretty much everyone who saw it. Now he looks set to do it again with American Animals, which is screening at this year’s Sydney Film Festival.
Once again drawing on real life elements to spin a gripping unbelievable-but-true cinematic story, Layton presents us with four college friends (Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson) burning with the desire to make their mark on life, to bust out of the mundane and do something spectacular: namely, rob the special collections library at Transylvania University (in Kentucky, not Europe).
Mixing filmed recreations with interviews with the actual would-be thieves, Layton blurs the boundaries between documentary and thriller, resulting in what critics and festival audiences are calling a blistering and audacious work, “a riveting college-boy crime caper that speeds along on pure movie-adrenaline”.
Madman have the Australian distro rights, so expect to see American Animals get a wider release post-festival, but the especially keen should point themselves at the SFF site now.