Nocturnal Animals

(2016)

Nocturnal Animals - Thumbnail
00:00
1:47:07
  • 1080p
  • 720p
  • 480p
Title:
Nocturnal Animals
Release Date:
4th November 2016
Runtime:
116 min
MPAA Rating:
R
Genres:
Directors:
Tom Ford
Writers:
Austin Wright, Tom Ford
Languages:
English
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

A "story inside a story," in which the first part follows a woman named Susan who receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband, a man whom she left 20 years earlier, asking for her opinion. The second element follows the actual manuscript, called "Nocturnal Animals," which revolves around a man whose family vacation turns violent and deadly. It also continues to follow the story of Susan, who finds herself recalling her first marriage and confronting some dark truths about herself.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 79%
IMDb Rating 8.0

Casts

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ray Marcus
Amy Adams as Susan Morrow
Isla Fisher as Laura Hastings
Jake Gyllenhaal as Tony Hastings/Edward Sheffield
Michael Shannon as Bobby Andes

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Alex Pearse 13th November, 2016

More style than substance?

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?".

Reviewed by bartonj2410 16th October, 2016

This devilishly stylish thriller left me in a trance

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.

Reviewed by HollywoodGlee 26th September, 2016

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

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.

Reviewed by raven-64-833785 26th September, 2016

Stylish and Thrilling

With a sudden thump on the window a wild bird is stunned. It is reduced to a heap of feathers and a barely beating heart. Through fantastic imagery, talented and stylish actors at the top of their game, an amazing and fastidious director, and an enthralling and thrilling story, the characters in the film go through transformations similar to that of the dazed bird. So did I. The film resonated deeply with me. "I just can't do this anymore." I was shocked with this line that was said to me in the same situation and manner. Despite her wealth and ownership of a Los Angeles art gallery, Susan (Amy Adams) is troubled by the absences and indifference of her husband. She unexpectedly receives a manuscript from Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal), her long estranged ex-husband. Passages from the manuscript contain eerie parallels to her past and present life. Reality is strangely infused into the story line. As Susan reads, memories and emotions come flooding back. She struggled with unhappiness then. Despite significant life changes, she still struggles with it. She let go of a good man, yet maybe because she needed to. This is what she tells herself. In Ford's stellar and meticulously made film, even side conversations have substance and pictures on walls are connected to the story line. Certain scenes alone make the film worth watching. This includes an unorthodox interrogation by actor Michael Shannon. Shannon is extremely ruthless and convincing. Laura Linney appears as Susan's mother. She is even more brutal, in her own way, than Shannon. In a separate flashback scene, where all that is heard is a heartbeat, I was spellbound. The unexpected ending, the even more surprising opening, the twists and turns, and depth of the film, thrilled and delighted me. Tom Ford's background in the design industry is apparent in the spectacular lighting, stylish clothes and sophisticated dialogue. In the second showing of the film in North America, Ford received a standing ovation. I stood too. I loved listening to him talk and teasing people in the front row for distracting him with their cell phone cameras. His theme; do not let go of love if and when you find it. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 12th September, 2016

A movie one would go gaga for

Anticipation runs high for fashion designer Tom Ford's sophomore directorial outing after his stunningly sleek, candidly reflective debut A SINGLE MAN (2009), NOCTURNAL ANIMALS has just been crowned GRAND JURY PRIZE in Venice 73', which comfortingly bodes well for its prospect in the Oscar game ahead. I saw it in on a grand screen in Venice, the film kick-starts with stunning montages of female carnal corpulence, which turns out to be an opening night of a modern-art exhibition organized by Susan Morrow (Adams) in her sumptuous-looking gallery, this eye-opening gambit straight away shoots audience into a state of euphoria towards what we would regard in the offing. Susan lives in a posh residence with her business-oriented husband Walker (Hammer), and in fact, their relationship is teetering on the brink, Susan suspects the latter is cheating on her. The unbidden arrival of a manuscript written by her ex-husband Edward (Gyllenhaal), whom she jolted 20 years ago, casts her mind back to the bittersweet recollection of their jinxed relationship. They married for love, but Edward, a struggling writer, is deemed "too weak" for the ambitious, capable art student Susan, pinpointed by Susan's mother Anne (a matriarch Linney in her scene-stealing cameo, immaculately coiffed too), Susan boldly defies her assertion but, the truth is, mother is always right about her daughter and more disheartening, every daughter becomes her mother in the long run. The break- up is a big blow to Edward, not helped by him catching Susan with Walker in a date. The manuscript is a novel written by Edward with the titular name, and this story-within-a-story marks Ford's resolute departure from his wheelhouse - the upmarket ritz and glitz. Hence, he assuredly strides into his untested ground - a Western revenge thriller. In the novel, its protagonist, an ordinary guy Tony Hastings (Gyllenhaal again), embarks on a family vacation with his wife Laura (Fisher) and their daughter India (Bamber) in the backwoods of Texas, one night when they are driving on the highway, road rage is engendered between them and three local ruffians, Ray (Taylor-Johnson), Lou (Glusman) and Turk (Aramayo), strife follows and mounts to an unnervingly edge-of-your-seat intensity. Tony is not a violent guy, even during the distressing moment when Laura and India are strong-armed into riding with Ray and Turk in their vehicle, meanwhile Lou forces Tony to drive in another with him, Tony comes off too powerless to save his family (one important detail, the ruffians are unarmed, so in hindsight, there is a fainting chance if Tony is strong and brave enough, he might be able to take down his rivals), thus, the tale sends its harrowing message: it is Tony's "weak" nature that should be at least partially responsible for the tragedy incurred to his wife and daughter, but is it? (I think some of us will differ.) With all the efficiency and predictability of police procedural and post-trauma recovery, Tony's revenge, exacted one year later - which is aided by detective Bobby Andes (Shannon), who is bent on seeking justice within their own hands - eventually hinges on the central question, can a civilized man pull the trigger when facing rank vice, even he has an irrefutable motivation to do so? In another world, can Tony pass the ultimate manhood test, to be a man defined by a rigid frame of mind? The manuscript drastically stirs Susan's psyche, she is intrigued, emotionally affected by the story's undercurrent of emasculation and humiliation, and attempted to meet Edward for the first time in 20 years, but what awaits her is something she might not expect - Edward's belated revenge, two decades later, which will shoot her down when she is at her most vulnerable. Gyllenhaal continues his extraordinary stretches of virtuosity in front of the camera, unleashes his show-stopping elemental intensity in his dual roles, especially in Tony, a character poles apart from his strapping figure, a meek sheep unfairly punished for his nature, it is a heartbreaking display of bravura. By contrast, Adams epitomizes a more detached persona nestled in her privileged niche, outlines a more subdued inner journey aptly paralleling Tony's trials and tribulations, and eventually it would strike a more resonant chord with viewers. Shannon, stands out in his effortless turn as a terminally-ill Texan cop equipped with irresistible tics, brazenly unperturbed in his relentless hunt. And, Taylor-Johnson, whose stardom hardly takes off after his breakthrough in Matthew Vaughn's KICK-ASS (2010), has been further pigeonholed in extremely unsympathetic roles notwithstanding, finally finds a knack to lighten the screen with his repugnant cockiness to a fault. Incredibly, there are captivating and hilarious cameos galore, barring aforementioned Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Jena Malone and the unrecognizable TRUE BLOOD star Kristin Bauer van Streten are all smashing one-liners. Finally, a big thumb up to Mr. Ford, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS comes out brilliant and thought- provoking after ingeniously blending two rather incongruous styles within one feature-length, it is a gorgeous testimony that filmmaking shouldn't take the seat of a second fiddler for this multi- talented taste-maker, not in a world we need someone like him whose reading of masculine culture is far much perceptive than the dispiriting status quo.