American Animals Is A Doc-Fiction That’s Wild Fun And Deeply Disturbing

Riot Material
1 min readApr 11, 2018

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Reviewed by Kristy Puchko

There’s something inherently slippery about true crime documentary, where cold hard facts collide with interview subjects whose testimonies might be less than reliable. Filmmakers might be able to pin down what happened, but the why is so much trickier; and the how can be the ultimate mystery. Moviegoers like to think a documentary is the distilled truth. But in Bart Layton’s work, this daring documentarian challenges that concept by relishing in the conflicting accounts of convicted criminals, who may have confessed, but still strive to save face.

In his 2012 feature debut The Imposter, Layton invited audiences to be wooed by an eccentric French con man, who weaseled his way into the home of a humble Southern family by masquerading as their missing teenage son. But Layton takes his exploration of slippery narratives and unreliable narrators to a whole new level with the sophisticated, smart, and wildly entertaining American Animals.

American Animals

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Riot Material

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