Wonderland.

7 WONDERS: AMERICAN ANIMALS

“Are you in or are you out?” The heist film gets a rollicking college twist.

Evan Peters - American Animals
Evan Peters - American Animals

Did he? Didn’t he? This. But hold on. Actually this. The unreliable narrator trope gets raucous new roots in British director Bart Layton’s unforgettable heist film.

Set in a Kentucky college, four friends (fronted by the crème de la crème of young talent, Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters) devise a plan to steal some of the world’s most valuable books.

Pulse-quickening, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and unflinchingly stupid, here are 7 reasons why it’s not one to miss…

1. Library pass

Evan Peters starring in American Animals
Evan Peters starring in American Animals

Straight off. This is not your average heist film. No sophisticated gadgets or sinister veterans of the crime world. But the stakes are so very high. “We’re talking $12m in rare books, and one old lady guarding it!” Exclaims Even Peters. The action revolves around a group of four ordinary students attempting to rob the library of the Transylvania University. What ensues is exactly as shambolic as you would think.

2. Star pupils

Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters in American Animals
Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters in American Animals

When we say crème de la crème, we mean exactly that. Evan Peters has already hit the big-time with solid credits in X-Men and regular stints in American Horror Story, and Irish newbie Barry Keoghan is swiftly making a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s biggest up-and-comers (notably Dunkirk and The Killing of a Sacred Deer). Despite rising-star status, they both perfectly embody shabby small-town ennui and chaos-instigators.

3. True, false?

Jared Abrahamson in American Animals
Jared Abrahamson in American Animals

“This is not based on a true story. This is a true story.” From the onset of the film, the initial warning means that the audience has no idea what to expect. Gradually, it’s revealed that the re-enactment of the drama (with actors Keoghan and Peters) is intersected with documentary-style interviews of the actual people that were involved. Nail-biting stuff.

4. Who to believe

Blake Jenner in American Animals
Blake Jenner in American Animals

Throughout the film, the real interviews show the two main instigators of the heist, Warren Lipka (played by Evan Peters) and Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan), directly contradicting each other. To hilarious effect, the film rewinds and readjusts according to the new info. Trust no one, right?

5. Ask the ref

Evan Peters as an old man for American Animals
Evan Peters as an old man for American Animals

Everyone knows that if you’re going to try and pull off something as high-risk as a heist, you better do your research. And that’s exactly what Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters set about doing – naively watching a full catalogue of classics in preparation. But it turns out director Bart Layton had done his research too, with endless crime caper references sprinkled throughout the film. Reservoir Dogs. Ocean’s Eleven. The Thomas Crown Affair. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

6. Old hand

American Animals still
American Animals still

Obviously your main concern (after nailing a floor plan and getaway car, obviously), should be your diabolical disguise. For the boys in American Animals? Old people – “because being old is the closest thing to being invisible”. Dried white paint and face scrunching for wrinkles. Fake moustaches. And some pretty convincing tweed ensembles.

7. Creature comfort

WildTurkey - Everyman
WildTurkey - Everyman

For such stomach-churning, palm-sweating screen action, you’re going to want to be comfortable. And lush seating was the common denominator for the guests at the Everyman for the Wild Turkey Bold Cinema Series. A curated line-up of raucous films accompanied by Wild Turkey Old Fashioned cocktails? Yes, please.

Find out more about the Everyman x Wild Turkey ‘Bold Cinema Series’ here.

7 WONDERS: AMERICAN ANIMALS

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