Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

2016 | R | 116 Minutes

Drama | Thriller

A woman named Susan receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband — a man she left 20 years earlier — asking for her opinion of his writing. As she reads, she is drawn into the fictional life...

Overall Rating

8 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • A film hotly tipped for Academy Awards, Nocturnal Animals is about an art gallery director receiving a novel from her ex-husband and as she reads it she starts to realise the true intentions of the book. Now I went into this knowing nothing, I only watched the trailer once and thought the cast was good enough to warrant a viewing. Little did I know I was about to watch a truly depressing film...but in the good sense. As always, with a cast like this you are going to get outstanding performances. Jake Gyllenhaal once again adds a ridiculously powerful performance to his canon, Amy Adams was understated and full of emotion. But for me, the surprise was Aaron Taylor-Johnson. No longer do we have the bland acting from Kick-Ass and Avengers: Age of Ultron, we now have ourselves a real actor and the greatest compliment I can give to all three is that they deserve awards. Michael Shannon is consistent as always and the small roles played by Andrea Riseborough (supremely underrated) and Laura Linney are all very good. Director Tom Ford took this film and owned it, it reeked of confident direction. Bold static landscape shots, shaky frantic camera work and even the clear contrast between the three narratives...it just reminded me of the old neo-noir films. Speaking of the narratives, the film follows three plots which are all interlinked but the editing is made to switch between them throughout the runtime. Whilst this was required, I felt the constant switching was disjointed and pulled me away from the movie at times. The transitions could've been more natural instead of being forced. When I say this film was depressing, I'm not exaggerating. There is no sign of happiness in this, not even remotely and I would love to talk about scenes in detail but unfortunately that will ruin the story (so I may need to do a more detailed review in the future). I mean the allegory that the novel creates is just genius, I've not seen fitting symbolism in a film like this in ages. The score behind the film was also great, it added to the drama and the intensity of the performances on screen. I do have to mention the introductory scene, the scariest thing ever and unfortunately the imagery I witnessed will be embedded in my mind forever (...urgh). Overall, Nocturnal Animals was a harrowingly depressing film with outstanding performances all-round even if the film's narrative felt disjointed.