Nocturnal Animals – review

Amy Adams is a successful art dealer, living a bored life with wealthy, handsome but frequently absent husband (Armie Hammer), so when her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) sends her a copy of his new novel, she not only has something new to occupy her time, she intrigued by the dark story and how it reflects on her past relationship with him and what their future relationship may hold.

I was shocked to learn that Nocturnal Animals wasn’t nominated for any of the big categories at the Oscars, (only best supporting actor for Michael Shannon) as this has probably been the award season film I have enjoyed the most. It is like a slick piece of art, cleverly sculpted and coolly beautiful.

I think Emma Stone was very lucky that Adams wasn’t nominated for this (or Arrival) because wow her performance in these two films in one year, demonstrates what a talent she is, such very different characters in two very different films. Equally this is another strong performance from Gyllenhaal, another film to add to his increasingly underrated back catalogue.

Nocturnal Animals is a film about storytelling, the majority of the film being the novel itself. It is a film within a film. Something that doesn’t often work, (and I don’t like very much). But here it works, you want to find out what happens next in both stories. We know that the action we are watching from the novel are not real,but it doesn’t stop it from being less engrossing or tense. The novel and real life are intertwined and we learn revenge can come in many forms. Both aspects of the story are juxtaposed against each other to brilliant effect.

This film certainly has a lot of style, thanks to fashion designer turner director Tom Ford, but it has the substance to back it up too. I don’t want to tell you a lot more, as it is best watched first hand. I am sure that there is more to pick up with additional watches. But a great film, that looks great too.