6 points about Nocturnal Animals

 6 points about

Nocturnal Animals


So, I had this all written up, but somebody turned off my laptop before I saved the document, so god dammit here we go again.

Nocturnal Animals is one of those Oscar hopeful movies, and we will be reviewing more and more of these types of movies in the lead up to the big event. Nocturnal Animals already received 3 Golden Globes nominations, and 3 Critics Choice Awards nominations. Therefore, those involved with this movie should be hopeful come the big awards ceremony. Tom Ford directed this movie, and he is a fashion designer, which typically isn’t exactly a great sign. This movie is about Amy Adams’ and how her ex-husband sent her a novel that he wrote, and we see both a story about Adams’ past, present and the novel.  But what were my thoughts on this enthralling concept, and did it work well on screen. Read my 6 points below to find out.


1. To start, the acting was amazing.

I will get into my thoughts on the plot and concept of this movie, but I will get some other things out of the way first. I am a huge Jake Gyllenhaal fan, and I do believe him to be one of the finest working actors today. He gave such a great, emotional performance, in what was a very tricky role. He played two different characters, and he absolutely killed it with both. There unfortunately isn’t much buzz around him for an Oscar nod, which is a shame as this was a captivating performance from Gyllenhaal. Michael Shannon also starred in this movie as an old and grizzled police chief. These roles can often be very clichéd, but Shannon offers a very gritty perspective of this character. He gave a top performance. Amy Adams plays the sort of lead character. Gyllenhaal probably has more screen-time, but this is a story about Adams’ character and her relationships.  If she is going to be nominated, it will probably be for Arrival, but this was still a fine performance from Adams. Now, onto Aaron Taylor Johnson. I am not a fan of him whatsoever. I really wasn’t convinced about this guy, up until this movie. He stole the show, and it will be a travesty if he gets snubbed for best supporting actor. He was easily the stand-out, and he played that creepy and vile character excellently. He changed my opinion on him, just by this performance.

2. The screenplay was fantastic.

Tom Ford also wrote this movie, and he got a Globe nomination for his writing. The conversations between characters were always grabbing you into the movie, particularly the one within the novel. This is a movie that could well have been bogged down by exposition and boring dialogue explaining everything. But Ford really restrains from any of this, and this is a major reason why this movie works. There were some excellent scenes of pure conversation that were very well done. For example when Amy Adams and her mother are talking about Jake Gyllenhaal’s character outside of the novel, or almost everything between Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor Johnson within the novel. This movie simply wouldn’t have worked with a terrible script, but luckily, it was pretty damn good.

3. The characters created by Ford were very interesting.

This movie needed good characters with interesting stories in order for the audience to really care. This was certainly accomplished, as every character had their own interesting things going on, that makes us want to see more from them. Michael Shannon played a very interesting character who was dealing with some important issues, behind his hard-man outlook. This made us care much more about him and everything that he did. Aaron Taylor Johnson was amazing and his character really got under the skin of myself and probably everyone else who watched this movie. That is precisely what he was to accomplish with his character. Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal both also had some great stories going on, and how the novel story intertwined with the outside of the novel story was great. Everyone’s character was portrayed excellently and were told in a riveting way.

4. This complex story had some amazing layers.

This was a very layered story, with a lot of connections between the novel, and the not-novel story. This is hard to explain dammit. What Amy Adams’ ex-husband was going through with his life with Amy, can often be seen within the novel, and this really gives the movie layers. This really was an ambitious effort by Ford, but it does pay-off. The movie does have a great pay-off that leaves you thinking and wanting to look up more about it. This whole movie is a thinking movie that really wants to challenge the audience. Sometimes it does feel as if Ford was trying a bit too hard to get this kind of complex story across, but it still was a generally successful by the fashion designer. The cuts between the past, present and novel were never jarring, but I did have one major problem with it, which will be discussed below.

5. The story within the novel was far superior, to the one outside the novel.

I would love to see a full feature length movie, about just the novel by itself. Yet I don’t feel as if the same could be said for the story outside the novel. I found myself just wanting to get back into the novel story, particularly at the beginning.  The story outside the novel did pick up after a while, but it still paled in comparison to the one inside the novel. I do get that the movie wouldn’t have worked without both stories, I am just saying that I felt as if the one outside the novel could have been a bit more thrilling. Ford wouldn’t have accomplished what he was trying to had there not have been a past, present and novel story, but some just weren’t as thrilling as others.


6. Overall, this is a thrillingly stylish movie, that is very well made.

This is a movie that most people will probably enjoy. There are romantic, thriller, dramatic and mystery elements to this story. The performances are truly wonderful and I do hope that Nocturnal Animals gets a few Oscar nods, and does well at the upcoming Golden Globes. Tom Ford really put out a thrilling movie, that does deviate with some story elements sometimes, and aren’t always as gripping as they should be, but I will give Nocturnal Animals a 9/10. I do recommend that you would give this a watch, especially with some major awards ceremony’s coming up.


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