Nocturnal Animals Movie Review by Sputnik

From writer/director Tom Ford comes a haunting romantic thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension that explores the thin lines between love and cruelty, revenge and redemption. Academy Award nominees Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal star as a divorced couple discovering dark truths about each other and themselves in Nocturnal Animals.

The movie is an adaptation of the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. The movie has two stories. One is the story that happens in real life where Susan is a rich art gallery owner whose husband Hutton is having an affair. She receives a manuscript for a novel written by her ex-husband Edward. Susan had married Edward against her mother’s wishes but their marriage suffered due to his lack of success and her literary criticism. She had an affair with Hutton and divorced him and married Hutton.

The second story is the novel that Edward writes. Tony is on a road trip with his wife and daughter. They run into a gang of trouble makers Ray, Lou, and Turk who force them off the road. They then kidnap Tony’s wife and daughter and abandon Tony in a secluded place. He returns to the place with the help of a cop to find the dead bodies of his wife and daughter who were raped and murdered. The rest of the story is about his revenge.

Amy Adams was excellent as Susan. Jake Gyllenhaal was very good as Edward, Susan’s ex-husband and novelist in real life. He was also excellent as Tony, the lead character of the novel that Edward writes. Armie Hammer was ok as Hutton, Susan’s second husband in a small role. Laura Linney was very good as Susan’s mother in the only scene she has in the movie. Isla Fisher was very good as Laura, Tony’s wife. Ellie Bamber was very good as India, Tony’s daughter. Michael Shannon was excellent as Detective Bobby Andes and deserved the Oscar nomination of Best Supporting Actor that he received. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was excellent as Ray Marcus, the sadistic leader of the gang. Karl Glusman was very good as Lou and Robert Aramayo was good as Turk/Steve Adams.

Screenplay and direction by Tom Ford is very good. The story of the novel is excellent. The scenes on the highway where Tony and his family run into the gang are chilling and terrifying. The story from the novel is an analogy or metaphor of the real life story. The ending leaves one wondering what it means. Had to research online and there are multiple theories on what it exactly means. Many will not like the ending. Still its a very good movie especially for the story from the novel.

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