'American Animals' isn't your typical true-crime drama

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American Animals stars Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, and Jared Abrahamson as four college kids who plot to steal a priceless book. 

It also features Warren Lipka, Spencer Reinhard, Chas Allen, and Eric Borsuk – the lead characters’ real-life counterparts, and the people who actually perpetrated that heist. 

That documentary element sets American Animals apart from your typical Hollywood crime drama, reminding us that, as director Bart Layton puts it, “these are real people, these are real decisions, there are real consequences.”

The real guys add new context to everything we’re seeing, questioning and commenting on the proceedings with the hard-won benefit of hindsight.

Whether these talking heads actually do make for a “more interesting film,” as Layton promises, is up to us to decide. 

But they’ve definitely got us eager to find out. Count that as a win.

American Animals is in theaters starting June 1.