Recaps & Reviews

Nocturnal Animals Will Keep You Talking Long After The Movie Has Ended


Tom Ford is a well know fashion designer, even making headlines recently by saying he won’t outfit new first lady Melania Trump, but he’s quickly gaining a reputation for being a great filmmaker as well. Sure his last film, A Single Man, was released 7 years ago in 2009, but it was critically acclaimed and kept him determined to make another. Now, his latest film, Nocturnal Animals, is turning heads once again and will more than likely earn several nominations during awards season.

Describing the plot of Nocturnal Animals is difficult to do, because it’s a story within a story within a story. The main plot surrounds an art gallery owner played by Amy Adams who received a manuscript in the mail from her ex-boyfriend played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The novel is about a family on a late night trip across the country who are forced off the road and tormented by a group of men in the middle of nowhere. The husband is separated from his family, and after making his way back into town and reporting his family missing to the local authorities he discovers that they’ve been murdered. The art gallery owner takes the story as a veiled threat against her and can’t put it down, and as she reads it you learn more about her and her relationship with her ex through a series of flashbacks. As both stories move forward, they continue to get darker as the revenge the characters seek gets closer. 

Nocturnal Animals is a complex and compelling movie that you’ll want to talk about long after you’ve finished watching it. The stories intertwine flawlessly, and the quick, unapologetic cuts between the scenes are not distracting in the least. Jake Gyllenhaal plays duo roles in the film, as both the ex-boyfriend and the husband in his manuscript, but it’s his role as the husband that is the most compelling. You can feel the torment he’s going through without the character even saying a word.  It’s Michael Shannon though, who plays the police officer in the fictional story that might end up surprising a lot of people during the awards season. There have been a lot of actors who have played a cop character with nothing to lose before, but Shannon does it in such as way that he quickly outshines everyone else in the film. The film is stylish in every way that matters, from the way it’s shot to the musical score and the cinematography, and you won’t want to turn away from it for a single moment.

2016 saw plenty of great movies released, with a few more to come this month, and Nocturnal Animals will be appearing in many critics top 10 lists for the year. The film was one of the most buzzed about at TIFF 2016, and with it coming out this weekend to a wide release, people will finally be able to see why. 

By: Roderick Thedorff

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