7.5

Nocturnal Animals

01 h 57 m

Susan Morrow 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 of Tony Hastings, a mathematics professor whose family vacation turns violent.

Director:
Tom Ford
Stars:
Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon
"The Haunting Elegance of Nocturnal Animals"

Posted Friday, Nov 24, 2023 49

Nocturnal Animals intertwines two stories, one of a wealthy art gallery owner, Susan, who receives a gripping novel manuscript from her ex-husband, and the other being the novel`s narrative itself, which serves as a dark, allegorical tale reflecting their past relationship and Susan`s inner turmoil.

The film masterfully explores themes of revenge, regret, and the stark contrast between weakness and strength. It manages to maintain a tone that is both melancholic and suspenseful, with moments that are as elegant as they are discomforting.

The performances are top-notch. Amy Adams brilliantly portrays a woman ensnared by her own choices, evoking a deep sense of loss and longing. Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a dual performance that perfectly balances vulnerability and determination. The supporting cast, including Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, provide memorable and impactful presences.

Tom Ford`s direction is meticulous and stylized, demonstrating a precise vision that serves both the narrative and aesthetic of the film. He weaves the dual narratives seamlessly, creating a tension that lingers with the viewer.

Nocturnal Animals movie review

The score is subtle yet haunting, complementing the film`s tone and enhancing the emotional undercurrents of both the real and fictional narratives.

Seamus McGarvey`s cinematography is exceptional, using a moody palette to create visual contrasts that align with the film’s exploration of the dichotomy between the sterile art world and the brutal reality of the novel`s plot.

The production design is meticulous, reflecting the polished emptiness of Susan`s existence and the harsh desolation of the novel’s world. The attention to detail in both environments enhances the storytelling.

While not heavily reliant on special effects, the film utilizes them effectively when necessary to serve the story, ensuring that they do not detract from the film’s poignant atmosphere.

Nocturnal Animals movie review

The editing is sharp and purposeful, providing a rhythm that oscillates between the contemplative and the intense, mirroring Susan’s emotional journey as she reads the novel.

The film deliberately takes its time, allowing the suspense to build and the emotional weight of the story to settle in. This measured pacing may not suit all viewers, but it serves the film`s narrative well.

Dialogue is used sparingly, and when present, it carries significant weight. Each word seems carefully chosen to unravel the characters’ complexities and drive the story forward.

If there`s a criticism to be leveled, it’s that Nocturnal Animals may leave some viewers craving more closure. Additionally, its cold and calculated nature may not resonate with those seeking warmth or redemption in the film`s characters.

Nocturnal Animals is a film that manages to be both a stylish art piece and a profound psychological thriller. It lingers in the mind long after the credits roll, raising questions about our own life choices and the irrevocable consequences they bring. It is a haunting reflection on the power of art to disturb, reveal, and affect us deeply.