Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Movie Review #536: "Nocturnal Animals" (2016)

Director: Tom Ford
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes
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A writer sends his ex-wife his novel, a dark and disturbing tale of murder and revenge he has dedicated to her. 

"Nocturnal Animals" is written and directed by Tom Ford, who is known for his other film "A Single Man," which was made 7 years ago. This movie is based on the novel "Tony and Susan" by Austin Wright. It stars Amy Adams as art dealer Susan Morrow, who is very unhappy in her marriage and her life. One evening, she receives a book from her ex-husband Edward Sheffield, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, entitled "Nocturnal Animals." The book is named after what Edward used to call Susan (since she has trouble sleeping) and is also dedicated to her, though the two have not spoken in nearly two decades. The story is a dark, twisted tale of murder and revenge, focused on a character named Tony, also played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Three story lines run throughout the film that are cut and interspersed together. First, there's the story of Susan's life, which explores her job, her marriage to her husband Hutton, played by Armie Hammer, and her reading Edward's book in the present. The second is the story told within the book itself, which bares some similarities to Susan and Edward's real life together. Finally, the third part deals with flashbacks of Susan and Edward's life together when they were young and in love with hopes and dreams. There are A LOT of metaphors going on between what happens in the novel and how Edward felt upon the breakdown of his marriage in real life. 

"Nocturnal Animals" is an alluring, highly intriguing movie that will stick with you and make you think about it long after it's over. It has vicious, passionate undertones and an immeasurably deep, complex, gorgeous color palette. Tom Ford loves to play with shapes and colors and sounds and distinctively different styles between each of these stories to create something truly breathtaking in terms of look and feel. Dear god, this movie is astounding. The acting is truly brilliant all around, and we would not be upset if anyone from this film got nominated for any type of award. Amy Adams is amazing as always, showing a wide range with just one character. Susan is both fragile and strong, vulnerable and tough. Gyllenhaal is fantastic as well. He is such a brilliant actor, one of the utmost best of our generation, but he often gets overlooked. He deserves more recognition for his part(s) in this movie. Michael Shannon, oh, Michael Shannon. Our love for him knows no bounds. We cannot believe that at one point, we disliked this man. He is absolutely, positively marvelous here (and as always). He manages to bring to life a fictional cop with a "fuck it" attitude so well, we would not be surprised if this was his year to win big come awards season. We must also mention Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who really came out of nowhere with such an incredible performance. He plays an effectively creepy, dirty, disgusting, sinister sociopath with such precision that he is almost unrecognizable.

Tom Ford keeps proving that he is far more than just a fashion designer and that he is, in fact, a very capable, talented filmmaker. We hope to see more of his innovative works in the future, especially if they are anything like "Nocturnal Animals." This is not the type of film everyone will enjoy, especially with some of its twisted themes and visuals. Even many cinephiles will see this movie as merely pretentious drivel, the inner workings of failure, revenge, intention, and loss worked out in metaphors, but we absolutely loved this captivating, intense, bleak film.


My Rating: 9.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~72%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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