Stylish, tense and thought provoking, Nocturnal Animals is a great thriller with some unique features.
Nocturnal Animals is the story of wealthy art gallery owner Susan (Amy Adams), who receives a book, entitled with the film’s name, written by her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The film breaks off into three stories. One following the events of Edward’s book, another, which explores Susan and Edward’s past relationship, and a third that stays with Susan in the present. Susan begins to understand the darker, more personal meaning behind Edward’s book as the film progresses.
Gyllenhaal once again is on top of his game in his roles as both Tony, the fictional character from the book, and Edward. Amy Adams’ understated performance is also superb, as she is able to effectively show us Susan’s misery through a few fleeting looks. Her limited screen time does not go to waste. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Shannon also shine playing characters in Edward’s book, with Taylor-Johnson’s portrayal of antagonist Ray Marcus being uncomfortable to watch at times. This however is a compliment to the quality of his acting.
The film is beautifully shot by director Tom Ford with some excellent imagery being used, such as mirrored camera shots between the events in Edward’s book and reality. The attention to detail really pays off. The cuts from the past to the present further the audiences understanding of the film’s overarching plot, as well as how all the storylines link together. The film tries at times be too artistic and ambiguous, but luckily it does not detract much from its overall quality.
Nocturnal Animals (2016), directed by Tom Ford, is released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK through Universal Pictures on March 13th. Certificate 15.