Review – Nocturnal Animals
Tom Ford’s first return to directing since 2009’s A Single Man, is the 2016 dark psychological thriller Nocturnal Animals. Ford also wrote the screenplay, which is based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright.
The film stars Amy Adams as Susan Morrow, a successful art gallery director who is in a struggling marriage with business man Armie Hammer. As Hammer leaves for a business trip, Susan receives a parcel from her husband Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal). The package is his first novel, dedicated to her and of the same title as the film.
The film centres around Amy reading the novel (of which we see the story play out, with Gyllenhaal as the lead character in the story) whilst in her own real life, the book triggers her into reflecting on her past and current situation.
The film plays out weaving between the two stories, pairing moments of the two tales, and interlinking as the two stories play out. The tale from the book is a very dark crime thriller that sees a teacher heading on a trip with his wife Isla Fisher and daughter Ellie Bamber. A sinister tale plays out when we see the family run into a group of young men headed up by Aaron-Taylor Johnson, that later also includes a performance by Michael Shannon.
The ‘real world’ story that we see shows us, not only Adams’ current life but also through a series of flashbacks, the story of her and her former husband that has crafted the novel.
Additionally, there are supporting, brief performances from Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, and Michael Sheen
It’s a dark, reflective story, that includes some fantastic performance (Especially Adams, Gyllenhaal, Taylor-Johnson and Shannon) and is beautifully directed by Ford who retains his stunning visual style.
It is uncomfortable viewing at times, but is a remarkably well directed and acted story.
8/10 (somewhere between an 8 and a 9)
Absolutely loved this film. I agree there are some uncomfortable moments.
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“Uncomfortable viewing” is well put. People in my theater were so stressed they seemed literally unable to sit still.
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One of my favourite movies of 2016. Great review!
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