Monday, April 17, 2017

Film Review: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: FandangoNow
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It is a beautiful, disturbing, and suspenseful thriller."

A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her past when her ex-husband sends her his new novel—a dark and disturbing tale of vengeance...

Watching Nocturnal Animals is almost like watching two films at the same time—the real world and the fictional world. In the real world, so to speak, Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is a wealthy art gallery owner with everything she could ever want—except for happiness. Her world is disrupted when she receives the latest manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). She begins reading the novel. Cue the fictional world. In the novel, Tony Hastings (also played Jake Gyllenhaal) attempts to avenge his family after his wife and daughter are brutally assaulted. The film frequently hops between the real world and the novel, but it is seamless and effective. Since this is almost like two movies, it also leads to two chilling endings.

I could go on and on about the plot, but I don't want to spoil anything. You should go into this film blind—don't watch trailers, don't read spoiler-filled reviews. I'll say this: this is a dark, disturbing, and compelling thriller. Although there are bits that could have been more developed, both stories are very effective. As a matter of fact, they could possibly work on their own. They're just much more effective together. Thanks to the creative storytelling, the film is always on its toes. It keeps you engaged and interested from beginning to end; it's almost dream-like in a sense, too. Of course, the plot itself is also interesting. The film is also very suspenseful. This is a truly unnerving experience. I was glued to the screen from beginning to end.

The acting is phenomenal. Amy Adams plays the 'realist' character very well. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon steal the show, though. Really, the entire cast was excellent. The film was beautifully shot. This is a gorgeous film. The music was also perfect, always matching the mood of the film while creating its own personality. The screenplay was written by Tom Ford based on a novel by Austin Wright. Ford also directs. Ford is an excellent writer and director. He created a beautiful, stylish thriller without sacrificing any narrative elements. He also worked very intimately with his cast, pulling wonderful performances from his actors. I would love to see more from Ford. The editing was also superb.

Overall, Nocturnal Animals is a stellar film. It is a beautiful, disturbing, and suspenseful thriller. From its engaging story to its fantastic performances, Nocturnal Animals delivers an unforgettable experience. Any complaints I have would simply be dismissed as nitpicks. Watch it.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence, blood, and nudity.

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