Nocturnal Animals (2016) ★★★★★

“My Husband used to call me a Nocturnal Animal…” Image result for nocturnal animals movie

Art gallery owner, Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) lies in a loveless marriage with husband Hutton (Armie Hammer), but is troubled due to past events with her first husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal). When he sends her his unpublished novel, of which he has dedicated to her, Susan gets occupied by a revenge-driven tale.

If you have found yourself thinking, “Darn, I wish there was a film that opened with oversized naked women dancing their hearts out!”, then oh boy, this is the film for you. Powerfully directed by Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals models both style and substance impeccably. One does not surpass the other, while revenge serves as the central theme. It is apparent that Ford’s expertise in the world of fashion permeates the piece. Those who hold Old Hollywood dear to the heart will thrive off this masterpiece; the film cleverly shows off by the means of Hitchcockian elements, crossed with the western genre. The cinematography is simply oozing with style, and bold editing choices work to its favour. Its brilliance lies in two narratives that interact with one another; the action shifts back and forth between the two with ease.

Following her recent sci-fi flick Arrival, Adams follows up with a passionate performance, which differs to her previous role, but contains just as much heart. Michael Shannon masterfully merges his trademark intensity with a touch of dry humour, while he attractively chokes up a lung’s capacity of mucus. Jake Gyllenhaal takes on a more emotionally vulnerable role, showing off the versatile actor he truly is. The first-rate performances make for one thought-provoking piece of film-making.

From its sharp score, to its riveting narrative, Nocturnal Animals is an unconventional delight. It will award you with the cinematic experience you have long been craving for. Hypnotic from beginning to end, it makes for a brutal, artistic neo-noir. At times, it’s too slick for its own good, but, nonetheless stands as a breathtaking experience.

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