Animals (2014)

My Score

This movie tells the story of Jude and Bobbie: a young couple that exist somewhere between homelessness and the fantasy of their imaginations. Though they masterfully con and steal in an attempt to stay one step ahead of their addiction, they are ultimately forced to face the reality of their situation when one of them gets hospitalized.

Genre : Drama
Country : USA

Cast : 
David Dastmalchian : Jude
Kim Shaw :  Bobbie

Director : Collin Schiffli

My opinion

“I eat your tears and I save them right up in my belly.
I’m Popeye. Your tears are my spinach.
They make me strong.
That’s not fair.
I’m the one who might have cancer. I need spinach.”

Are you looking for a movie that’ll make you instantly happy or that’ll make your heart beat faster because of the tension? Look further, because “Animals” doesn’t fulfill these requirements whatsoever. What a tremendously depressing and slow film this is. A sketch of two hopeless cases living on the edge of society and whose desolate life only consists of commiting petty crimes in order to provide money for their basic needs : a daily dose of heroin or a line of coke. They drive around all day in a dilapidated car and try to kill their time with useless activities such as their daily visit to the zoo. The only thing you wonder after a while is whether or not their relationship is solely based on their stubborn addiction.

I remember being shocked after watching “Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” when I was younger. This was also such a depressing film about the devastating effect of heroin and the certainty that those who used it would eventually die from an overdose. “Animals” didn’t leave me unmoved either. Even though it sometimes felt more easy-going and you’ll be spared from sickening images of withdrawal symptoms. Jude (David Dastmalchian) and Bobbie (Kim Shaw) have a whole series of scamming tricks they use regularly on innocent people, to get some money. And when they succeed in it, the money is gone in the shortest time. All spent on some precious bags full of white powder. And every time when they’ve used the drugs, they realize that life can’t continue like this. That they should find a way out. This was the last time they used again. Especially when they bump into a couple of corrupt policemen who expropriate their hard-earned money and little bit of drugs. But when the first withdrawal symptoms appear, it’s back to the same old routine.

I do like survival films, but not exactly this kind of survival films. Ultimately, this is nothing but a portrait of two people trying to survive. It was terrible to see how far they would go out of despair. They both realize all too well what state they are in. They even wonder how they’ve ended up in this situation. Two white Americans with a proper education and both reasonably intelligent. In the end they compare it with the stupidity of birds that keep flying into the same window time after time. So it’s dismissed as just their own stupidity and that’s that. So despite the awareness and sometimes rising urge to quit, the two of them can’t make that crucial step towards salvation from this deadly shit.

Fortunately I don’t have any experience with such drugs. Though other experiences are kind of similar to Jude’s and Bobbie’s hopeless addiction. The renditions of David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw seemed to me realistic enough. Superb acting and wonderful to see how they shift between different moods all the time. Even the physical appearances of these two addicts changes in a convincing manner as they exhibit withdrawal symptoms. Jude is an intelligent young guy, but he’s also unreliable and selfish. Bobbie usually looks like a real slob, until they are doing the call girl trick and she starts to dress up. At that moment she reincarnates into a wonderful and beautifull looking woman. The supporting roles are of secondary importance as they come and go. The entire film focuses on the two main characters only.

Eventually, the whole film is just a series of fragments about human decay, despair and misery. And this interspersed with brief flashbacks (with drugs always in a leading role) and moments when the duo tries to get money. Until disaster strikes and then it goes straight to the denouement. And that’s where this movie moved me. That specific moment proves that there’s indeed still a close and intimate bond between those two. An endearing gesture. Perhaps a glimmer of hope for success. “Animals” is a moving film that contains a kind of twisted love story, showing how an animal instinct seizes a human being whose body screams for drugs. What a sublime movie!

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

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