hopscotchee: blake jenner score: 97.5 rating: R time: 116 minutes
okay, (hashtag iggy azalea) first things first, (disclaimer) there is no way to explain all the epic-ness that went into this movie. it's start to finish perfection, and to avoid analyzing each and every perfect minute and an overly-lengthy review, we are just going to highlight on the best shout outs, however know that this movie is definitely a must-watch to appreciate and do justice to all its impeccable craft. from a filmmaking perspective alone, it leaves aspiring moviemakers (like us) completely jelly (jealous) with its utter jaw-dropping-ness and exquisite beauty. because of this, you should also know (second disclaimer) that it's, by far, one of the best movies we have ever seen - like, ever. it is even my/annie's favorite film of all time!! with that, presenting this with the highest regards, american animals tells the story of the most auspicious art heists in u.s. history, while executing a five-star-worthy, epic crime-drama that takes a new and creative approach on authentic storytelling unlike any bio-pics before!!
immediately, the credit for this goes to, director and screenwriter, bart layton. legit, praise, praise, praise!! traditionally a documentary filmmaker, he incorporated his previous knowledge into this film, turning it into a docudrama. by (spoiler) interspersing interviews from the actual people involved in the crime, throughout the film, he doesn’t waver away or interpret the truth, solely sticking to the accurate events and bluntly stating this at the beginning with (spoiler), “this is not based on a true story. this is a true story”. this start gives the movie a greater impact, because it explains to the viewer, right away, the veracity of the film and backs up all the events through the legitimacy of the interviews, making the heightened climax and conflicts feel more shocking. asides from this just beginning the picante vibes that tell you that you are in or one heck of a suspenseful movie!!
but this film wasn’t just plot and interviews. bart layton’s genius mind and the incredible editors seamlessly interwove them together, not letting either distract the audience from the plot or feel like they were taken into a separate section of the movie. one way they did this seamlessly was by connecting mannerisms and movements between the actors and the actual people. for example, (spoiler) in the dinner scene where movie-warren learns that his parents are getting a divorce, actor, evan peters holds his fork mid-air in shock. the scene then cuts to an interview of real-life-warren, where he mimics this same reaction. this fluidity transitions the audience into both content, while further highlighting the accuracy of the film. we mean, that's hashtag brilly!!
in relation, another strength of the movie was the acting. all four guys (evan peters, barry keoghan, jared abrahamson, and blake jenner) not only portrayed the actual people well, they excellently depicted the college-boy-attitude and mindset to a 't'. with their sly smiles and frequent swearing, they added little quirks that brought across the mischievousness and agitation cultivated by their mundane lives, causing the audience to relate and empathize with them more. plus the bond between them all was spectacular. we personally love each of the boys individually and think they are all freakin' talented, so when they came together in a scene it was absolutely magic with a kick. you could feel the close relationship between them across the screen and could see how effortlessly they played off one another. though, coming from them, this wasn't much of a surprise.
however, the spotlight of this film, no pun intended, came from the lighting and cinematography. it’s subtle progression in dramatic and vibrant lighting, as the heist accelerated, created a fantasy world that paralleled with the boys judgement and feelings for the heist. this can be seen during the (spoiler) wan fu scene as the saturated red lighting creates an enticing atmosphere, playing along with warren’s invitation to join the heist to eric. yet, this also perfectly contrasts when the heist fails, and the boys are taking into custody with the heavy blues and bright and starking daylight.
finally, we would like to shout out to the costume crew behind this movie. american animals released in 2018, but the movie was set in 2003, and you could really see this with the costumes. it didn’t even feel like you were in 2018 with the (spoiler) velour tracksuits or, mostly noted, blake jenner’s outfits. especially, (spoiler) the laying of the white long sleeve and the baggy blue t-shirt that was paired with the kaki shorts - like, wow!! such a flashback!!
overall, american animals is a highly enjoyable watch with suave shot comp, savvy montages, and sympathetic soundbites captivating the audience as it uniquely and authentically tells the story of four college boys looking to escape their ordinary lives. we, obviously, obviously and extremely, extremely recommend it, because honest to goddess britney herself, it's a truly impeccable and stunning movie that only deserves to be watched over and over again!!
-- thanks, blake xo