The true crime genre has been on a tear in recent years. The Serial podcast and shows like The Keepers and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story have captured the zeitgeist with their fascinating tales. True crime is compelling because it can shine a light on the horrors and inequities on the world around us, frighten us or just flat out flabbergast us with how something so ridiculous could have actually happened. American Animals looks like it falls into the latter category. The new trailer for the film looks sexy and dangerous and far stranger than fiction. Take a look:
This looks like an absolute blast. I had no idea what to expect going in but as the trailer went on, things kept getting stranger, darker and more interesting. The trailer does a masterful job of ratcheting up the tension and slowly revealing what this story actually is. We get college comedies, dramas and coming of age tales with a fair bit of regularity but this looks like something totally different, combining those elements but being nothing like them. These characters will be going down a dark path as they search for meaning and excitement in their lives and the sexiness of an art heist will quickly give way to some very real dangers. The trailer is a ton of fun and it teases a movie that is both dark and dangerous but also funny.
American Animals also looks to be doing some very interesting things aesthetically as this trailer is visually dark and teases some interesting camerawork. The film is written and directed by documentary veteran and the director of The Imposter, Bart Layton. The story is actually told via multiple perspectives, which should be very interesting if there is a Rashomon approach and each of these perspectives is an unreliable narrator. I'm also curious to see how a documentary director tackles this narrative that is based on a true story. The true heist story boasts an R rating and looks to be much closer to Alpha Dog than Superbad. I actually got vibes from this trailer that reminded me of Rian Johnson's directorial debut, Brick.
Now you may have noticed at the MoviePass Ventures logo at the beginning of the trailer. American Animals premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and MoviePass Ventures teamed up with indie studio The Orchard to distribute the film. This is a big example of how the theatergoing subscription service is diversifying its revenue streams and using its influence over subscribers to push movies that MoviePass has a vested interest in. MoviePass customers are supposedly more likely to see independent films, so this film will be an interesting case study as the service continues to grow.