Nocturnal Animals is the newest feature film by Tom Ford, and proves to be one of the strongest films of the entire year with an amazing and twisted script.
An art gallery owner named Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) one day gets hold of a rough draft copy of one of her husband’s books, which turns out to be a revenge novel. Now, she must determine what the true meaning of the novel is, and decide whether or not the book has significance to her real world or if it is purely fictional.
Watching the various television advertisements promoting this film alone made me really want to watch it. I have always been an extremely big fan of Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal’s work ever since I was a young child. To see the two of these actors in a feature thriller film together was like a dream come true, and I was hoping that the film would be as great as its cast, and luckily, it certainly is.
Adams delivers one of the best performances I have ever seen from her here as Susan Morrow, the wife of Gyllenhaal’s character, Edward Sheffield. Also amazing in the film is Gyllenhaal. The two of them deliver such raw and brutal performances in the film, and more impressively, they do so using primarily their facial expressions. The reason being is that Nocturnal Animals does not really use that much dialogue throughout. Both actors do a tremendous job at portraying such a wide variety of emotions including sadness, anger, and guilt, using nothing more than their face, and it turned out excellently.
Another thing I found captivating about Nocturnal Animals was its story. It will certainly confuse a lot of people, including myself, but at the end of the day, it is a confusing story that we cannot help but want to finish. More answers get unravelled as the film progresses which I loved, as it creates a slow-burning build of intense mystery.
The film can feel a bit slow paced at times, largely in part due to some sequences being unnecessarily prolonged. It would have been nice to cut some scenes short and transition into the next.
Also, Nocturnal Animals is kind of pretentious as well. Is this style over substance? Not completely. There certainly is a lot of substance here, but the style can be a bit much at times, but it luckily does not overtake the overall story here.
Nocturnal Animals is an excellent slow-burning mystery topped with excellent performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, menace, graphic nudity, and language
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Directed by: Tom Ford
Distributed by: Focus Features
Running Time: 116 minutes