American Animals (2018)

Director: Bart Layton

Writer: Bart Layton (Screenplay)

Starring: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier

 

Plot: Four young men mistake their lives for a movie and attempt one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history.


Tagline – Nobody wants to be ordinary

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Way Too Slow

 

Story: American Animals starts as we see the heist about to take place, rewinding us 18 months where we meet Spencer Reinhardt (Keoghan) an art student in Transylvania University, struggling with his identity, turning to his streetwise friend Warren Lipka (Peters) the two discuss the potential of stealing rare expensive books from the library.

As the idea turns into a plan they bring in Chas Allen (Jenner) and Eric Borsuk (Abrahamson), can they make this plan come off, well the answer is no because as we see the planning we meet the real thieves now in their 30s discussing what they remember about the idea.

 

Thoughts on American Animals

 

Characters – Warren is the streetwise student on a scholarship, not living up to his potential, he will always get things down however illegal they might be. He is the one that brings the team together to make this happen even if he is also the one that gets them in the most problems. Spencer is the art student that comes up with the idea because he is sick of not standing out in the art world, looking for the pain be believes artist require. He is all in with the planning but when it comes to following through he thinks they will need to go too far. Chas is the getaway driver, he has the most money which helps with the planning of the heist. Eric becomes the brains learning where things could and would go wrong if they do it in certain directions. We do also meet the adult versions of these characters in the real version that are looking back on the crime they committed.

PerformancesEvan Peters is the clear highlight in this film, he always comes off unpredictable which seeing the older versions of the characters you completely understand too. Barry Keoghan does play the stranger member of the crew well, he is the one that is happy to plan not commit a crime, he needs to be straighter faced than Peters character. When it comes to the rest of the cast they are fine without needing to do that much.

StoryThe story here is based on the real story of four university students that robbed the rare book collection in the library of their university. The way the story is told is interesting because it does both help and hinder the film, having a mix of the actors playing the younger versions and the real men talking about the events does give the story a documentary feel. Where this does hinder the story is by telling us that they failed early on and are now just remembering what happen which takes away any excitement or edge of your set moments towards anything going on. There are moments in the story which are good to watch, for example the scene where they are watching heist movies to learn how to pull it off and seeing the pitch perfect plan in Warren’s head. If we are being honest, the story is about 20 minutes too long because the opening hour just drags you along, once the heist gets underway things get more exciting but by then you might see the audience lose interest.

CrimeThe crime follows a real heist that happened at the same university, we get to see how it was planned, how things went down and seeing the consequences the boys felt.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around the university, this helps for any heist film, we do get moments where we step away, but that is for the plan which does work when you see how the boys are out of their depth at times.


Scene of the Movie –
Selecting the names.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The first hour.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly long heist movie that drags along at a horribly slow pace, once things kick off we do get some interest, but the fact we have the real criminals involved in telling the story we know the outcome.

 

Overall: Just watch for Evan Peters being slightly crazy.

Rating

 

 

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Alicia Silverstone, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Bill Camp, Sunny Suljic

 

Plot: Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.


Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not Sure!

 

Story: The Killing of a Sacred Deer starts as wee meet surgeon Steven Murphy (Farrell) who has a friendship with Martin (Keoghan) whose father died on his operating table. Steven has his family, wife Anna (Kidman) and children Kim (Cassidy) and Bob (Suljic) with their own dreams at home.

As Martin starts to become overly attached to Steven, he starts to find a way to force himself into his life by befriending Kim, while Bob becomes sick with no explanation to what is causing his problems. It isn’t long before Kim gets sick too, this pushed Steven into trying to find out what Martin has done to make this happen, giving him the option to save his family.

 

Thoughts on The Killing of a Sacred Deer

 

Characters – Steven Murphy is a surgeon, he has years of experience and a family, but when the son of one of his patients starts getting to involved in his life, he must look into his past to save his family. Anna is the wife of Steven, she starts to go in his case to learn the truth in a way to hopefully save her children from whatever has been done to them. Martin is the son of a patient who died on Steven’s table, he starts by striking up a friendship only to show a sinister reason for the friendship which puts Steven’s family in danger.

PerformancesColin Farrell brings us another good performance, it does feel like he does just continue to use the same style of performance that he gave us from The Lobster. Nicole Kidman is good in this role using her beauty to get what she can from her character. Barry Keoghan continues to make an impact on the business this year after Dunkirk, he gives us a haunting performance as Martin.

StoryThe story follows a doctor whose life comes crashing down around him once the son of a former patient comes into his life. We see how the actions lead to Steven needing to make a difficult decision, one that would change his life, but we are mostly left to see just what is causing the actions to happen, the true motivations behind it and just what he wants.

Horror/MysteryWhen you look at the horror side of the film we get moments of disturbing behaviour, which is the mystery behind everything that just keeps us interested in to where the horror could go.

SettingsThe setting doesn’t do too much for the film, we don’t seem to be located in any locations which makes a true impact on the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The elevator.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The almost pointless dialogue.

Final ThoughtsThis movie is weird, this is the understate of the year I think, it has random dialogue style, moments that just seem random and most importantly keeps us wanting to know what the hell is going on.

 

Overall: Too strange for the casual viewer.

Rating

 

 

Dunkirk (2017)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan (Screenplay)

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Harry Styles

 

Plot: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic War Thriller

 

Story: Dunkirk starts as we English soldier Tommy (Whitehead) desperately making his way to the beach on Dunkirk for the evacuation of the British Soldiers, all 400,000 are waiting for this moment, as Commander Bolton (Branagh) is arranging this on the beach as the soldiers are being picked off from the air. Back home Mr Dawson (Rylance) is taking his son Peter (Glynn-Carney) and friend George (Keoghan) by his small weekend yacht to Dunkirk as the private boats are being called upon to rescue the soldiers. In the air spitfires pilots Farrier (Hardy) and Collins (Lowden) are leading the battle from the skies as they look to defend the returning ships.

The three stories play out through the different time leading up to the final moments of the film in what is known as one of the greatest rescue missions of all time in any war.

 

Thoughts on Dunkirk

 

Characters – Tommy, Gibson and Alex are three soldiers stuck on the beach of Dunkirk, they try their hardest to get off the beach of Dunkirk, we see their struggles like many of the soldiers who would have wanted safety in the horrors of war. Mr Dawson, Peter and George show three figures who couldn’t fight in the war but will do everything for their own part in saving the soldiers. The Shivering soldier shows us the effects of war on these soldiers as he doesn’t want to return to the horrors. Commander Bolton shows us how a leader should act on the battle field, being prepared to wait for his men to be saved before himself. Farrier and Collins show us the risk from the air and just how dangerous this side of the battle. We might not learn too much about the characters backgrounds but we also don’t need to, this story is about the heroic story not what these men did before became soldiers.

PerformanceTom Hardy is easily the stand out star of this movie, but it does help that he plays the character with the most intense scenes. Cillian Murphy shows us once again he doesn’t need to be the main star of a movie to be the star and Mark Rylance follows up his recent war time Oscar win with another brilliant supporting performance. We also get to see Kenneth Branagh give us the great leader role. Extra praise must go to the unknown actors here too, Fionn Whitehead in the leading role, fantastic, Aneurin Barnard who I recently saw in a terrible horror film was also fantastic, Tom Glynn-Carney and jack Lowden both seem to shine next to Rylance throughout too. The biggest talking point about this film came in the casting of popstar Harry Styles, I have always defended this choice, and even the biggest haters of this ‘singer’ will be left applauding the guy who is wonderful in this role.

StoryThe story is known as one of Britain’s greatest rescue missions, when all hope looked lost the miracle that stop 400,000 soldiers being slaughter happened, yes, we do know the end of this story from the start. The story is split into 3 times, one covering a week, one covering a day and the other covering hours but this is designed to build up to the one moment showing the struggles the character’s involved must face. I believe this does reward by the end but at times could be difficult for some people to follow.

Action/History/WarThe action sequences are fantastic throughout the film, we don’t see the blood and gore of the war like in Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge and for me that was good. The history of this war time event will live long in the memory of those involved and is easily one of Britain’s finest moments of unity.

SettingsEach setting looks fantastic and you can fully believe you are part of this war with these soldiers.

Special EffectsAll the effects are created to show us the stark reality of the war for the men involved, we don’t have anything going over the top which also helps.

Scene of the Movie – Spitfire over Dunkirk, this scene feels haunting throughout.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I would say the scenes when Farrier is looking at the instruments in the cockpit, everything just went over my head there.

Final ThoughtsThis is the best British story from a World War II film that could stand on the same levels as Saving Private Ryan any day of the week.

 

Overall: Breath taking experience from start to finish.

Rating