Collin Schiffli’s film Animals (2014) is a story about two addicts – Jude and Bobbie. The film is titled Animals because it reveals the true animalistic nature of drug addicts and compares them with caged animals. The images and sounds of animals appear throughout the film, emphasizing some crucial moments and identifying them with the main characters. Although the film is about human beings, the title Animals is symbolic, and it demonstrates how difficult it is for addicts to fight against their instincts.
The film’s first example of animal symbolism is the scenes depicting roaring lions and scratching gorillas. The main characters live in an old car parked near the zoo, so they often observe wild animals in cages. Roaring lions and gorillas symbolize an urgency of addiction. Jude and Bobbie are like animals that must be fed. They cannot think about anything but their next fix. If a lion does not receive meat, it can tear any living creature it sees nearby. Similarly, Jude and Bobbie steal and defraud to find money on drugs.
Another symbolic moment is when Bobbie asks Jude why a bird keeps flying into the same window. This scene demonstrates the stupidity of a bird compared with the absurdity of the characters. They are intelligent individuals with proper education, but they are not clever enough to fight their addiction, and they keep taking drugs repeatedly. Finally, their addiction can be identified with a cage, and they are trapped inside like animals that cannot find a way out without assistance.
In conclusion, some viewers may think that the film compares drug addicts with animals, meaning they should be treated like animals. However, the film’s message is about the difficulties drug addicts experience and their inability to fight their instincts alone. The film reveals the inner struggles of drug addicts and teaches viewers to treat such people not as animals but as individuals who beg for help and cannot escape their cages without someone’s assistance.