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