American Animal

Movies
3 out of 5 stars
American Animal

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

From the moment writer-director-star Matt D’Elia appropriates All That Jazz’s opening pill-popping montage—complete with the “It’s showtime!” self-affirmation—this tale of a hipster’s dark night of the soul makes its modus operandi perfectly transparent: There will be cinematic references, and lots of them. As D’Elia’s bearded, blood-coughing antihero spirals into madness once his roommate (Brendan Fletcher) announces he’s accepting a job offer, we’re treated to a number of impersonations (Nicholson, the Duke) and increasingly unhinged examples of acting out. While American Animal’s finely tuned filmmaking is leagues above the usual Indiewood sloppiness, all the movie-quoting manic episodes feel like empty grandstanding; it’s hard to tell where D’Elia’s own psychotic cinephilia ends and the character’s begins.

Follow David Fear on Twitter: @davidlfear

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