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A tonally out-of-place third act brings a disappointing end to an otherwise compelling, raw, heart-breaking movie.

Animals is a movie that had to be made, without a doubt. That doesn't mean it's an easy watch though. In the film director Nabil Ben Yadir recounts the true story of a gay muslim 30-something who in 2012 was tortured to death in the Belgian city of Liége.

Opting for the boxed 4:3 Academy ratio and sticking at times uncomfortably close to the protagonist Ben Yadir utilises an almost documentary style, which at first endears you to the lead character, as he struggles with coming out to his parents, and then produces a nearly half-hour gut punch as he is belittled and beaten in a field, an ordeal captured by the culprits' cell phones.

Animals is unflinching in showing the brutal violence heaped upon a defenseless man but it is a justifiable approach to my mind, because it forces the audience to see the harrowing reality behind a hate crime.

Less justifiable is a third act that tries to explain away the reasoning of one of the killers and adds too many narratively convenient fictional elements to remain believable as a relatable story.

It is a disappointing end to what until then was a compelling, heart-breaking movie.

release: 2022

director: Nabil Ben Yadir

starring: Soufiane Chilah, Gianni Guetttaf, Vincent Overath, Lionel Maisin


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