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Nocturnal Animals More at IMDbPro »

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113 out of 187 people found the following review useful:

This devilishly stylish thriller left me in a trance

Author: bartonj2410
16 October 2016

Nocturnal Animals is a dark and devilishly stylish thriller from Tom Ford, who knows a thing or two about style having worked as creative director for both Gucci and Yves Saint Lauren in the past. It could have been in danger of being a case of style over substance however, Ford's perfectionism makes this one of the most powerful films I've seen all year.

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is an art gallery owner who spends most of her life at home alone, with her husband often out of town on business. When Susan receives a manuscript to a novel written by her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal), she finds herself immediately engrossed.

As Susan continues to read the novel, she has flashbacks to how her relationship with Edward broke down as well as thoughts that the violent thriller is a veiled threat against her from Edward.

I didn't know what to expect from Nocturnal Animals as I hadn't seen any trailers and Ford's film ended up blowing me away. The way Ford tells the story showcases how inventive and powerful he is as a filmmaker, the narratives of both Susan's life and Edward's novel combining brilliantly and leaving me in a trance like state.

Edward's novel provides the film with its dark soul, the story of Tony Hastings (also played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and his family who run into trouble when travelling through the night on the road to their country home. It's pretty heavy stuff but it plays an essential part in making this such powerful viewing.

This is a gorgeous film to look at as well, Seamus McGarvey's cinematography echoing the story's bleakness and the brutality of Edward's supposed veiled threat to Susan. The combination of the visuals with Abel Korzeniowski's dream-like score heightens the sense of escapism felt by Susan as she reads Edward's novel.

Coming to the performances, Nocturnal Animals features a very impressive ensemble cast all at the top of their game. Amy Adams yet again proves why she's one of the most versatile actresses with a performance that combines the assurance of an art gallery owner with the vulnerability of someone who knows they've made mistakes in their past. With this and Arrival out in the coming months, expect to see Adams get some form of recognition come the awards season, maybe for both.

Adams is joined by Jake Gyllenhaal, who takes on dual roles yet again for this film. Gyllenhaal has really grown as an actor, particularly in the last five years, and its great to see him continue that in Nocturnal Animals, more notably in the role of Tony Hastings, a creation of his other character Edward.

The rest of the cast features a scene stealing Michael Shannon, who I've really grown to appreciate these last few years, a career best performance from Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is truly vile as the villainous Ray, and Laura Linney who, even in the short space of time we see her, makes one hell of an impact.

I cannot speak highly enough of Nocturnal Animals, a stylish thriller that has more than enough substance to it. I will definitely be checking out Tom Ford's A Single Man after this and I sure as hell hope we see more work from Ford in the future.

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73 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

Don't waste your time, pretentious crap

Author: sonelectric
1 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just got back from the theater. Don't understand the rating. Reading the reviews ... I feel lonely. I feel like these critics got their job too easy, or by scheming, or by sheer luck. Am I the only one who laughed out loud when Tony shot himself in the groin? Or when he, blinded by a well deserved blow to the head, stumbled out of the trailer? For those of you who think that I didn't understand the inner turmoil of the writer pictured there as a physical struggle.. let me put your mind at ease. I did and so should everyone, because this movie is a like a fake easy test you get just to feel good about yourself. No thanks. After twenty years this is his revenge? Showing her that he wrote a crap book? Making her feel alone, left behind, like he felt back then? Making her understand what he has been through, what she missed? Big whoop, she already knew and beside hurting a bit she didn't do anything about it. You know, like in real life. Tom Ford, master of the cinema verite.

I have a fun fact for you: did you know that when Ray is sitting on the toilet outside, and the cop tells him to get dressed, he wipes his ass with a page of the script? True story.

Joking aside, there is so much "The emperor's new clothes" thing going on in the movie business nowadays that my head hurts.

Anyway, trashing this flick is the only thing that makes me feel better after losing 4 bucks to this writer , director , fashion designer, lion tamer, electrician, etc, so I'm sorry if I upset anybody who was deeply moved by his movie, and will forever remember it as one of great pieces of cinema.

In all honesty, there are so many movies more deserving of good reviews, and it is sad that we don't have smarter critics.

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69 out of 110 people found the following review useful:

This movie is like sex without orgasm

Author: nickijjohnson
20 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't you love my title? Don't you love how I make a statement? Just like this piece of crap film thinks it does. I don't think the writer realized it was a movie not an abstract painting. Movies have purposes, movies have a beginning, a middle, and an end; movies that build to something usually lead somewhere but this pile of junk leads nowhere! Frustratingly nowhere! Hence the title of my review. It builds and builds and has no release it just ends abruptly if you want to call it an ending. so our leading lady is a cliché. She's a career woman married to a career man whose having an affair which is not shocking at all. She was married once before and her ex-husband,a novelist, sends her his book. Most of the movie is about the guy in the story whose wife and daughter are kidnapped and raped. He works for over a year with a detective to catch the murderers. Now why the entire movie was not that story instead is beyond me. I could give a crap less about how she left her novelist husband after aborting his child just to end up with a cheating husband. Who cares about that storyline since it had no point! That storyline ends with her being stood up in a restaurant drinking scotch. The end. Really? I also found out Tom Ford designs clothes. He should probably stick with that. And the beginning of this movie with fat naked women dancing in slow motion was supposed to be some crap statement when really it was just uncomfortable to watch and stupid. About as pointless as the film itself. The film creator is the man and the audience the woman in my mind. Having said that the "man" is pleased. They made money, managed to get brilliant actors to do their crap film, and live happily ever after in their mansions. I the "woman" or audience if you will am left unsatisfied and $9 shorter but hey glad i could contribute to their yachts. And for those who like this junk and think I'm too dumb to grasp metaphors if thats what this movie thinks it is, one big metaphor for something, I urge you to see a film called Silent House. That is a film full of metaphors and statements that work with a storyline that builds to an actual finale. This is the worst film of the year and I'm saying that in a year when the remake of Ghostbusters came out with a frigging female cast (ohh guess that makes me sexist) as well as the release of the ever so pointless sequel to Independence day. But this film? Absolutely terrible. Rubbish as the Brits say. I wouldn't Netflix it. I wouldn't Redbox it. I'd wait for it to come on Lifetime if you really want to see it that way you can take shots during the commercial breaks just to make it tolerable.

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89 out of 153 people found the following review useful:

awful/pointless exercise in despair with no redeeming qualities

Author: LongDarkTeaTimeOfTheSoul from United Kingdom
15 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not sure why this is getting such slavishly, raving, reviews (although I suspect it's because of the 'luvvie' aspect thanks to the director). It was painful, tiresome and somewhat hideous to sit through. It felt like a very poor nod to David Lynch, and the theme of despair and lack of redemption didn't add to it's lack of charm.

I read a review on the Odeon site which summed it up for me, so my review will loosely echo a guy on that site. The film starts how it means to go on - it assaults your senses in a really unpleasant way. There is nothing new or clever about this film; it's an exercise in bleakness, despair and much hand-wringing and naval-gazing by the main protagonist, Susan. Lest there is any doubt in the mind of the viewer about the theme towards the end, an art piece that spells 'revenge' is given a bit of air time and another angsty scene is written around it.

It's nothing but an empty, dark little exercise in despair, thinking itself more clever than it actually is. I nearly walked out in the first ten minutes from the opening scene alone. I wish I had.

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96 out of 169 people found the following review useful:

More style than substance?

Author: Alex Pearse from United Kingdom
13 November 2016

At the outset, i should make it clear that i don't think this is a bad film, but i felt the need to add a dissenting voice to the collection of positive reviews that i've read so far.

The film is an amalgamation of elements that should work beautifully, but ultimately resembles one of the sterile offerings to be found in Susan's gallery. The acting is superb throughout, and the nuanced performances of Amy Adams & Jake Gyllenhaal are worthy of their reputations. The subtle transitions from dead and lifeless to young and vibrant, exhibited by the former at various stages of the film, is one of the most striking features of the piece. The film is beautifully shot and well directed, and there are some truly moving scenes in parts. However, as one reviewer has already alluded to, the film feels like it is desperate to say something, but ultimately says very little. Perhaps i just didn't get it at all.

The problem i had was with a lack of emotional connection to either of the main protagonists. It's interesting to find out what happens to both as the film builds, but ultimately i didn't care either way.

My partner and i spent some time examining the film on the way home, discussing the parallels between the story at the heart of the film, and the realities that continue around it, but despite our rudimentary analysis of what each one meant for the other, and an understanding that there are some clever parallels, what remained was the underlying sense of "so what?".

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35 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Extremely disappointing!

Author: Gkaplan1959 from United States
22 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Unfortunately, Nocturnal Animals was completely unbelievable right from the beginning, with dialog that seemed written by a machine. Given the 'novel' idea, that might have been excused, but all the dialog in the supposed 'real world' was just as bad. The only actor able to shine through this pretentious crap was Michael Shannon, but after a time his character just disappeared from the story. And what was Michael Sheen doing in this movie? And the nude fat dancers? It really added up to nothing. And oh my goodness, what a payback for leaving a man and aborting his child: He got her to go to a dinner meeting AND DIDN'T SHOW UP! Wow! Now that's payback in a BIG WAY! Sorry, but this exercise in audience manipulation was a real disappointment after A Single Man.

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64 out of 111 people found the following review useful:

A Beautiful Nightmare.

Author: Grimmers97 from United Kingdom
6 November 2016

The latest directorial effort from fashion designer Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals is an assault on the senses. I say this as a complement though. From the gaudy and gratuitous opening credits to it's varied palette of moody colours, it screams excess and expense. But unlike many movies that feature visuals like these, the movie doesn't paint them positively. Instead, our main character is trapped in a terrifying limbo of what she admits is her own creation. One day, she receives a manuscript from her ex-husband, played by Jake Gyllenhal. Due to their rough split almost two decades prior, she reads into every word.

The manuscript weaves a story that resonates with her broken state of living. She wonders. Is it a threat? Just a harmless attempt to reconnect? Or something else entirely? Cue top class acting and a story that is as dark as they come. This is a short review and there is a reason why. Nocturnal Animals is a movie best experienced with as little prior knowledge of the plot as possible. So, get out there. In the jungle of mostly underwhelming movies that is 2016, this is a movie you can't miss out on.

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32 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

He had it, then he let it go !

Author: nazztrader from United States
18 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first few minutes were great - why didn't Ford just keep going? He could have made a totally absurdist/surrealist film that might have worked! There were hints of such a film here and there - the guy sitting on the toilet outdoors, the ridiculous dress that looked like the main component was electrical tape, etc. If you want to "challenge" the audience, that would be one way to do it. As it stands, I don't know what he was trying to accomplish here.

Another film that featured a novel being read is the little-known piece of soft-core Eurotrash called "Honey"/"Miele di donna" (1981), and while that didn't work either, one could easily figure out how it would have been a lot better. There were also bits and pieces that did work or at least were satisfying on some level. By contrast, I don't want to think about "Nocturnal Animals" any more - in fact, I was bored while I was watching it! The only thing one could do here, in my opinion, is to go into total absurdism - just present one bizarre scene after another, in a Felliniesque way.

The reason why this film fails so badly is because it's clear that the Amy Adams character feels so deeply about the story she is reading is because she pictures her ex-lover as the main character. Now that certainly makes sense for her, but not for the audience, leading to boredom (because we think of the novel as simply fiction in this context) and in some cases outright comedy (the novel is sort of like "Dirty Harry"/"Death Wish" but with an unhappy ending, so it's not exactly special in any significant way). So we are left with a woman who "has it all" but decides that being among the "1" leaves something to be desired. Perhaps the next Ford film can be about Americans who don't have health insurance, if the new President gets his wish - at least I could feel sympathy for those people, even those who stupidly voted against their own self-interests.

And the glowing reviews for this remind me to never trust "professional reviewers." Remember "Eyes Wide Shut?" Remember the glowing reviews for that one? That was worse than this film! And what about Woody Allen's recent films? We are living in "world turned upside down" times, with more people believing "fake facts" than obviously real ones, it seems (and opera singers who can't sing their roles, "reality TV" shows that clearly don't reflect reality, etc.). And that is when absurdism is needed most. Tom, call me if you want some help with your next film. You don't have to pay me or give me credit - I just want to see one director do something that speaks to the times. I think you are someone who can do that, but you appear to be too concerned about impressing the "special people."

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36 out of 57 people found the following review useful:


Author: polarlightcasio from Gießen
22 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Its an uninspired and non-surprising moving. It's like Tom Ford thought "hey, let's make something with art" and used all tools he could find in his lunchbox. The end is non-surprising, the story between is non-surprising and it has logical deficits. Why does the sheriff not look at Tony, when he is searching for the killer of his wife and daughter? Why did Tony talk and talk and talk, but didn't shoot the killer in the first moment - haven't he seen in movies, what happens if I talk and talk to the killer? The only interesting character in the complete movie is the sheriff. The start of the movie - old naked dancing woman - is awful. If you have the impulse to run out the cinema - it is the right moment. This movie is a waste of lifetime.

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79 out of 143 people found the following review useful:

Nocturnal Animals is a tale of redemption, revenge, love and cruelty.

Author: HollywoodGlee from United States
26 September 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fashion Designer and Film Director Tom Ford premiered his new film, Nocturnal Animals, at the Sala Grande Theater during the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. Nocturnal Animals received this year's Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize (generally considered runner-up to the Golden Lion – Best Film). This was Ford's second feature film. His first film was the critically acclaimed, A Single Man (2009) starring Colin Firth. Firth receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his efforts.

Nocturnal Animals is a tale of redemption, revenge, love and cruelty. Ford opens the film with a strong musical score to reveal rotund, morbidly obese girls dancing topless upon pedestals seemingly pretending to be debutantes. Adding to the fanfare special effect confetti drops down and through the frame. All-American girls showcasing their goods and talents. Bordering on the macabre, the tone for the film has been set.

Hollywood A-lister Amy Adams plays a real-life West Texas debutante, Susan Morrow, who lives an unfulfilling life of daunting privilege with her handsome husband, Hutton Morrow, played by Armie Hammer. As Hutton prepares for yet another last-minute weekend high-finance business meeting in New York relationship fissures widen. A pensive Susan reflects on the state of her union with Hutton after a 'not-so-discreet' phone conversation from Hutton's elevator as he is arriving at a penthouse suite amid feminine gaiety as she opens a plain, white, mail shipping box. Susan opens the box to a black and white manuscript titled, "Nocturnal Animals," by Edward Sheffield, Susan's former husband and first true love.

In dramatic fashion, Ford begins a journey into the past yet grounded in the present as the manuscript opens up a world fictional, yet etched within Susan's consciousness. Using parallel story lines, present and fictional coupled with flashbacks to when Edward and Susan first met and the ensuing courtship and short-lived marriage. Laura Linney, plays Susan's West Texas Republican mother, and delivers some of the film's more memorable lines during a martini lunch where she unleashes lambasting Susan for even considering a marriage to "weak' Edward. Notwithstanding, however, the real storytelling takes place within the pages of the manuscript. Self-reflective and dramatic the narrative is full of conflict and escalating tensions as a husband and wife, Tony and Laura Hastings, played respectively by Jake Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher, travel at night across rural West Texas with their teenage daughter, India, played by Ellie Bamber. Without even as much as a lit billboard, out of a pitch dark blackness a vehicle approaches the family's suburban mid-sized car at a high-rate of speed. The car is driven erratically and its occupants are behaving wildly as they pass. Not too much to worry about until they decide to force the Hastings car off the road. Mayhem ensues as the hellions carjack the Hastings vehicle with the women inside leaving Tony on the side of the road in the dark by his lonesome. Soon a vehicle returns to pick up Tony. He's informed he gang leader wants to make amends and that Laura and India want Tony brought to where they are being held hostage. Fearing the worst Tony manages to escape and eventually makes his way to a law enforcement office to make an abduction/missing persons report to lawman Bobby Andes, played by Michael Shannon. Susan is shocked and awed at the power of Edward's writing and the visceral strength of Edward's character, Tony. By the end of the manuscript, Susan's life perspective has shifted as she and Edward make plans to meet.

Unquestionably, Ford delivers an emotional and psychological thriller with Nocturnal Animals. Superb acting, exquisite production values and strong storytelling are the film's hallmarks. Shane Valentino (Straight Outta Compton) handled the film's production design. Seamus McGarvey (Godzilla, Atonement, The Avengers) provided the cinematography. Costuming was assembled by Arianne Phillips (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Walk The Line, 3:10 To Yuma). Abel Korzeniowski (A Single Man, We) orchestrated the music. Along with directing Ford takes a screenplay writing credit along with Austin Wright, the author of "Tony and Susan," for writing the novel the film is based on. Nevertheless, the Casting Director, Francine Maisler (The Revenant, Birdman, The Big Short, 12 Years a Slave) and performances by the actors are above and beyond. This is a Don't Miss film waiting for Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences nominations - The Oscars.

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