Review: Nocturnal Animals

Title: Nocturnal Animals
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Tom Ford
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon
Runtime: 1 hr 56 mins

What It Is: Art dealer Susan (Adams) receives a strange manuscript from her ex-husband Edward (Gyllenhaal). As Susan begins to read the strange story she notices several strange similarities. The violent thriller reads almost like a revenge tale. In it, a man has his wife and daughter taken from him by mysterious strangers lead by a man named Ray (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Following this horrifying event lawman Bobby Andes (Shannon) steps in to help Tony (also Gyllenhaal) find his family. As Susan reads this she begins to see the darkest parts of herself and the unforgivable act that lead to the demise of her previous marriage.

What We Think: Tom Ford’s newest film is a visual stunner. It plays narratively with ideas that seem out of the Nicholas Winding Refn playbook. Something like this can come off as uneven what with having to tell two stories but the editing is sharp enough to keep both stories straight and craft them together wonderfully. There’s one glaring weakness in this film. None of the characters are particularly likable. The solid acting here really helps tell the story as does Ford’s keen eye behind the camera. Amy Adams is an absolute star and everything she’s in she is tremendous from Big EyesHer to a showcase piece like The Fighter. 

Our Grade: C+, I don’t like ambiguous endings. I find them to be a cop-out. Those sort of things are only okay in conditions where we know ahead of time there’s no ending like say a choose your own adventure tale. This is not that. A Single Man was so good and this was just not up to that same standard. See the film. It is a good piece of cinema and you may feel a lump in your throat as the story unfolds. It is gripping and will leave you on the edge of your seat at times.


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