(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Nocturnal Animals is a very well put together psychological thriller, but the ending left me with more questions than answers!!!
Rating: 4 Stars
Can’t believe I hadn’t talked about Amy Adams yet in any of my blog posts. I have to say that she is a tremendous actress that really has a long range of acting abilities. The first time I’ve seen her on screen is the film Enchanted, where not only she showed her acting abilities, but she can sing as well. She can do comedy as she did in Night at the Museum: The Battle of the Smithsonian. Ultimately, she is known for her dramatic roles like Doubt, American Hustle, Big Eyes, and most recently, Arrival. She has been nominated for Oscars, but hasn’t quite won it yet, but I can almost guarantee she will get her due. She knows how to pick good movie roles, and it will come. As for the film Nocturnal Animals, having her paired up with Jake Gyllenhaal means we will have a well acted film.
What I Like: I never would of thought a fashion mogul can actually direct a film, and Tom Ford has done it twice and both films are blown out of the park. He had an Oscar nominated film for A Serious Man in the first film, and for this film, he is creating some Oscar buzz as well. One of the reasons is that he does have a creative eye in making his scenes very colorful and artfully tasteful. He brings a picture to life for your eyes to enjoy. Another reason which I’m surprised that he does so well in his very young film directing career, is how great he structured this film together. He also wrote the screenplay, and it is very difficult to construct a film about a story within the story of a film, and edit it so well, that it actually flowed without any confusion whatsoever. It kept me engaged, and without any slow transitions, or fast cuts to one completely scene to another that really made this enjoyable toast back and watch. Director Tom Ford even added some jump scares that were completely unexpected that actually made me jump. It was a well put together psychological thriller, on a basis of the main character getting deeply affected from reading a book. It’s almost genius. The acting was tremendous as well. Amy Adams playing Susan Morrow did a fine job playing her role, but the show stealer was Jake Gyllenhall as both Edward Sheffield in real life and Susan’s ex husband, and the main protagonist in the film’s book, Tony Hastings. He put in a lot of emotion in his characters, especially as Tony Hastings who was a victim of harassment and having his wife and daughter raped and killed by some country thugs. I really felt his pain every time he lets his emotions out, and you felt sorry for him. Michael Shannon played Detective Bobby Andes, who is helping Tony Hastings in his case to brings the thugs into justice. I was surprised how skinny Shannon looked for his role, but he sure made it believable of becoming a person suffering from cancer. Shannon’s wide range of acting makes him a great actor as well in the lines of Amy Adams. I see it now more than ever.
The So So: I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I guess it is for you all to decide. The main part of the film is about a book that Susan’s ex husband wrote and gave her a copy to read. As she is reading it, the story comes to life. Is it wrong for to like the film’s book story more than the story from the film itself? Because that is how I really felt. I enjoyed seeing how that story develops, and seeing the aftermath of Tony Hastings looking for justice to the people that raped and killed his family. The focus of the film itself, is Susan’s emotional reactions as she is reading the book, and how it is affecting her own life right. I cared more of the story than about her which is the main point of the film. As weird as that sounds, it might make this film a genius work of art, or a mess. I can’t put a finger in which side I’m on in that regard.
What I Didn’t Like: As engaging this psychological thriller was, the ending didn’t really gave a great and fulfilling payoff. The way it happened is that once Susan was done reading her ex-husband’s book, and dealing with the fall out of her current marriage, she wanted to meet him for dinner to discuss about it in which he obliges. As she shows up and sits down at a restaurant, he never shows up and pretty much stood her up. Then it ends. It left me with a lot of questions on what is the real purpose the film brings. What is the lesson? What we can get out of this? It took me some time to think about it, which I hate when films do that to me, and open many different theories for me to discuss, instead of getting something concrete. After a lot of thinking, my conclusion is that during the movie, you see Susan meeting Edward, and why she marries him. It also shows why she ended up leaving him and having an abortion for their child. The book was an allegory about how he felt when she did leave him because she thought he was weak and didn’t have what it takes to be a great author. So in the end, he proves her wrong by writing a good book and also expressing his feelings on how he felt and moved on. Making the story hit very close to her home. The point of not showing up for dinner to meet at the end was an act if revenge and showing her that he doesn’t not need her. My friend, David Dickerson, who I watched the film with actually gave me another theory. He explained that the whole story of his book actually happened, but the victims were still alive after the whole ordeal. It lead to their divorce because how his weakness didn’t help his family from tragedy. So when he wrote the book, he wanted to prove to her that he is not weak, and that he acted revenge on her by reliving her past which s why she is an emotional wreck when she reads the book. It also could explain that one scene of Susan calling her daughter. Regardless of the theories, I wanted something more concrete with answers, and not more questions.
Overall: It is a very interesting and thrilling psychological thriller that is very well put together with some great pictures and scenes for all of us to enjoy. Whether you like the ending or not, or come with different theories of what the film is all about, you will not be bored for sure. It may get some Oscar buzz, I believe Gyllenhaal can get a Best Actor nomination, but not enough to get any of the awards. Until then, we will see, and keep on guessing on what the heck we just witnessed!!!
Rating: 4 Stars