Susan (Amy Adams) is living through an unfulfilling marriage when she receives a package containing a novel manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The novel is dedicated to her but its content is violent and devastating. Susan cannot help but reminisce over her past love story with the author. Increasingly she interprets the book as a tale of revenge, a tale that forces her to re-evaluate the choices that she has made, and reawakens a love that she feared was lost.
Can't wait to see again
- Nocturnal Animals review by PT
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You rated this film: 5
I seen this film in the cinema yesterday. I loved it, period.
Amy Adams plays Susan, a successful art gallery owner surrounded by the decadence of her materialistic lifestyle. Ironicallly, this love of the materialistic which she once sought to a tragic extent, is now something that she views as not so important. Unhappy in her current marriage, her husband's business interests in a crisis, which he really cares about and Susan is indifferent, set the scene for her to receive a package out of the blue. The package is a novel by her first husband, namely Jake Gyllenhall, whom she hasn't seen for 19 years.
Susan begins reading the novel, which we see in her minds eye in movie form. This fictional film runs alongside flashbacks of her first marriage, and Susan's current life.
This film is deep and meaningful and had me thinking for ages after leaving the cinema, ah that means that, ah that's what Gyllenhall novel is referring too there and there etc. Adams and Gyllenhall are superb in this movie, also Michael Shannon, very memorable as the cop in the fictional story.
I know when I watch it again I will see and understand more on the second viewing. A real touch of class.
Nocturnal Animals is visually slick, emotionally poignant and narratively, well, all over the place. That isn’t to say its storytelling structure is broken; rather, that what makes it work also proves too much for director/fashion guru Tom Ford to handle. So, Nocturnal Animals is best described as perfectly shaped art-piece that is half-hollow on the inside, but stimulating as all hell from the outside.
The film opens up with a strong sense of urgency, accompanied by a piercing score that overthrows its background consisting of really, really fat topless ladies dancing about. From here onward, it becomes clear that Nocturnal Animals will borderline beat the macabre until all that is left are mere bits and pieces off of it.
Then, recent Hollywood darling Amy Adams enters the scene. She is Susan Morrow – unhappily married to Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer) and constantly looking for a way out of Dodge.
Meanwhile, an overly introspective Susan welcomes her influx of mixed emotions after she opens a box with a manuscript inside it. The manuscript reads “Nocturnal Animals” and is penned by none other than Susan’s ex-husband Edward Sheffield, played by Hollywood go-to star Jake Gyllenhaal.
This point in the movie’s chronology is where all hell breaks loose – at least in a narrative kind of sense. As soon as Susan starts reading the devilishly magnetic manuscript, the film goes head over heels and veers off into risky territory by introducing several timelines simultaneously that work parallel with the main story and/or sometimes don’t hold much sense to begin with.
Afterwards, Nocturnal Animals frames, or rather – nests said storylines deeper and deeper within the frame of our main narrative thread that confuse, bedazzle and spiral to an infinitesimal end. This time however, Jake Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher pair up to produce newlyweds Tony Hastings and Laura Hastings respectively – who traverse Texan highways amidst nowhere with their daughter India (Ellie Bamber). Their whereabouts become interrupted by a gang of local thugs who drive their car off the road and force Tony out. And before you know it, the thugs kidnap Tony’s wife and daughter and later demand a ransom of some sorts. Tony, erratically moved by the impeding circumstances, makes his way to a sheriff’s office and pleads the case to police official Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon).
After all is said and done within the pages of the manuscript, Susan is deeply moved and makes amends with Edward to explore their cut-off relationship further.
Nocturnal Animals’ multiple storylines don’t work as well as director Tom Ford envisioned the ordeal. There are several occasions where continuity breaks and logic gets substituted by mere coincidences and wrongs of choice that somehow detract and divulge all the wrong data in return.
It’s style over substance and yet, still fun to watch after everything is said and done.