Review: Nocturnal Animals

Revenge.

Susan (Amy Adams) is an art gallery owner that's suddenly disillusioned with her career and is married to a man (Armie Hammer) who clearly wanders. One day she receives a manuscript from her ex husband, Edward. (Jake Gyllenhaal) She left him almost 20 years ago on terrible terms, and he's dedicated this very violent book to her. 

The TV spots for this film feel like they're advertising a completely different movie. From the trailers, it seems as if Gyllenhaal's family is kidnapped and he either set it up himself complete with a crooked cop, Andres (Michael Shannon) and an unpredictable man, Ray. (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) or he goes after them. In a way, that's almost a blessing, because the film is completely different and going into it mostly blind proved to be a good move. 

Nocturnal Animals plays out in Susan's life, the story in which she's reading, and a few flashbacks. The story has some of the most uncomfortable scenes I've seen in a film all year. But there's no torture porn here, director Tom Ford lets your imagination run wild instead. 

Amy Adams, despite being billed as the star really doesn't appear as much as I assumed she would. She's good at playing cold and depressed, but it's Gyllenhaal, Shannon, and Taylor-Johnson who do the heavy lifting. Their characters are all so different, but they bring a lot to the table. Tony (Edward's proxy, also played by Gyllenhaal) and his weakness.  Andres with his subtle DGAF humor, and Ray being a psychopath. 

The score is haunting, and the opening credits are bound to be talked about for ages alone. If I had a few gripes, it's that Armie Hammer aside from being wooden is in no way believable at playing a man in his 40's and while some things that are left up in the air work perfectly, others made me scratch my head a little. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable quote: "Who? Are you an owl?" - Andres (Michael Shannon)

12 comments:

  1. I HATED this. Like, I like it less and less whenever I think about it. Good performances, but a terrible, ridiculous script. It felt like someone with only a vague understanding of art films tried to make one, and halfway through editing, decided it needed more plot. I liked the scenes with Adams and Gyllenhaal, but that was pretty much it.

    And the ending. I could not roll my eyes hard enough lol. SO expected.

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    1. Oh no! I'm sorry you didn't like it. I saw the writers at The Film Experience seem to hate it with a passion too.

      I thought the ending was perfect, I didn't expect it.

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  2. Definitely one of my favorite film this year so far.... I just love how grimy it is and the fact that it's very dark. I will await for whatever Tom Ford does next. Plus, I just love how offbeat and artificial that world Amy Adams lives in from the art gallery to the people's she's with. BTW, what the fuck was Jena wearing in that film?

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    1. Jena's character is a saint for not flipping shit about her phone. I would've.

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  3. I want to see this but not sure I will like it ..or hate it. I wish Amy Adams would make another film like the one where she sings...that fairy princess one...she was good in That

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    1. I think Enchanted is getting a sequel? There's a very uncomfortable scene in this movie that lasts quite a long time. That's the hardest part to watch.

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  4. yeah, Armie hasn't delivered a great performance since The Social Network.

    But I am so glad you loved this movie!

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    1. No he hasn't, and even there I didn't think he was anything special. I'm glad I did too!

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  5. I'm scared of the jump scares I hear this has but I'm still psyched to see it!

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    1. It comes out of fucking nowhere too. Like, that's literally the last thing I expected to see when it happened. lol

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  6. Yes! So happy you liked this one. I loved everything about it, but yes, casting Hammer to be 10-15 years older than he is was a very odd choice. During his first scene, I thought he was just a young rich dude who nabbed Susan. But then in the flashbacks, they're clearly in college together. A tad odd, but oh well.

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    1. Right? When he made the comment "wasn't that 20 years ago?" I was like "yeah, when you were 10?" He looks his age. He can't pass for 40.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.