Nocturnal Animals

Written and directed by famed fashion designer Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals is a stylishly peculiar film noteworthy for its nuanced acting performances and cinematically stunning details. The movie stars Amy Adams as a wealthy contemporary art gallery owner living in Los Angeles who one day receives a draft for a novel written by her estranged ex-husband. As she reads the mysterious and violent manuscript late at night at her immaculate modern mansion, the viewer is transported to the novel’s actual story set in desolate West Texas. The main protagonist, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is driving with his wife and daughter in the middle of nowhere on their way to Marfa, Texas when they are unexpectedly confronted by a group of men led by Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s vicious character. As the story progresses, the movie switches back and forth between Adams’ character who has flashbacks to her ex-husband, also played by Jake Gyllenhaal, and the written narrative as the protagonist searches for his missing family. The always terrific and creepy Michael Shannon appears as the local detective investigating the disappearance and has no qualms with seeking justice outside the law. Amy Adams’ character becomes increasingly horrified with the feeling that her ex-husband’s writings may allude to their soured relationship and the possibly violent repercussions. Therefore, the film in both of its parallel story lines is at its heart a story of love and betrayal and is full of macabre themes emphasized by the strange qualities of the film. Clearly not for everyone, especially those disturbed easily, it is very much an artsy movie concerned with the look and feel and whose plot leaves you hanging at the end. The director Tom Ford’s career in high fashion is readily apparent in the way that he creates a beautifully shot film complete with sumptuous scenery and costumes. Overall, I found it to be a highly well-crafted movie with top-notch acting and cinematography but sometimes to be too weird and dark for most moviegoers.

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