Susan (Amy Adams) is an art gallery owner who receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). As she reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings (also played by Gyllenhaal), a math professor whose family vacation turns violent.
Nocturnal Animals isn’t the ordinary film you’d go to the movies to watch – I knew this from the moment the film started. It’s not simply a thriller, or a drama, either. It’s hard to fit Nocturnal Animals into one genre of film – that’s why it does so well on its own. Gyllenhaal outdoes his work in this year’s Demolition as both the author of the fictional novel of which the film’s themes revolve around, as well as the novel’s protagonist, and what shocked me is that he was able to deliver two completely different performances in one film. Michael Shannon is also scene-stealing as a detective who will go far distances to see justice done, or even do it himself. Adams also delivers a strong emotional connection with the audience as we dig deeper into her character’s past and feelings, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is unrecognizable and frightening in a role like nothing he’s played before. The cinematography is breathtaking, and the sound editing is gripping and realistic. From the film’s first act, my heart was pumping and I was always on the edge of my seat. Every scene demonstrated the cast and crew’s marvelous talents, and always brought some new feeling or reaction into the film, and in a great way. This is easily one of the most thrilling and unpredictable films of this year. The way the director combines different story-lines and beautiful visuals to create an extraordinary story is haunting but also memorable. The film may sometimes by tough to watch for some viewers, but I found myself constantly intrigued and never pulled out of the film. The ending is also something I did not see coming, leaving me still thinking about how everything so cleverly connects, with the movie’s writing, performances, visuals, and excellent execution adding up to pure cinematic brilliance.
Although I can’t say everyone will enjoy watching Nocturnal Animals, I personally found it to be an intriguing and masterfully done piece of cinema, with strong emotions that are conveyed indirectly and brilliantly to the audience, with strong imagery and fantastic acting that I think most moviegoers may appreciate and love like I did.