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7/10
Nocturnal Animals - an analysis
thing4m4jig3 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Hello, dear reader - if by some miraculous coincidence you stumbled upon this review, hidden among others.

This will actually be more of an analysis. Two friends had me explain WHAT THIS FILM WAS EVEN ABOUT when they saw I liked it on Facebook. I've also noticed that - as with many art-house movies -- reviews vary from "A masterpiece!" to "This is about NOTHING". I understand - a lot of films I myself don't get at all or I don't think they deserve the hype. "Nocturnal Animals" I get pretty well though, and I can tell you for sure it's not about nothing. So I'll share my thoughts.

Spoilers ahead, read after you've watched the film.

1. Who is Susan?

This movie is best to watch putting yourself in Susan's shoes. You don't have to like her, but you have to understand her. That's especially important when it comes to analyzing Edward's book, since it's obvious that the events from the book that we see on-screen are filtered through her mind. We get drawn into the fictional world when she starts reading and come back whenever she stops.

So, who is she? For me Susan is, first and foremost, a person who doesn't fit anywhere.

She's pragmatic and cynical, and she knows it. She doesn't like it about herself though; rather she's resigned to accept it. So when as a grad student she bumps into Edward - her brother's childhood friend and her teenage crush -- who infectiously believes she can be more than that, she falls into his arms.

One manifestation of what she escapes is the story of her brother. He's gay; their parents have practically disowned him; Susan hates them for it. She tells Edward that her brother once had a crush on him - his reaction: "I should call him more often". His different, soft, human approach is what draws her to him.

On the other side stands Susan's mother. She's stern and dogmatic but she loves her child. She immediately knows that Susan and Edward aren't right for each other. She warns her daughter that "We all eventually turn into our mothers", and that when Susan's organized nature starts showing, she'll hurt Edward.

Later it turns out she was right. Edward insists writing is his calling, but he isn't any good. Susan eventually stops believing in him. She needs stabilization. She leaves him for another man, Edward's complete opposite. She aborts Edward's child.

But then it turns out she suffocates in her new neat life, too. Her only constant: she doesn't fit. Whomever she's with, she suffers from insomnia (the "nocturnal animal", Edward once called her).

These are the opposites Susan fluctuates between: chaos and order; Edward's softness and pragmatism that runs in her blood.

2. The book. What does Edward say to Susan? However Susan understands the book is indicative of what she thinks Edward wants to communicate with it. So it hints at what happened between them in the past, a lot earlier than the film actually spells it out. Prepare to watch Susan's reactions and then put the puzzles together through her flashbacks.

Only after seeing the end do you realize what game Edward was playing all along.

He gave the book a title that was their private joke, then dedicated it to Susan. She knew the book was about him -- he'd never stopped "writing about himself" when they were together. (That's why she saw Tony as Edward and why Gyllenhaal played both roles).

Edward knew Susan felt guilty for what she's done. For a long time after she must have identified Tony's family harassers as the eponymous animals - her counterparts in the book - he kept her uncertain of their intentions. Will they hurt the family? Will they leave them alone? Finally, they killed them, as Susan destroyed her and Edward's relationship and aborted their child. Edward portrayed Tony's grief, letting Susan know: "Here's what you did to me". Then he expanded on Ray Marcus -- a mindless psychopath -- sending the message: "Here's what you are to me now". Finally, Tony kills Ray and dies himself, which means: "Writing this killed me, but at least now you're dead too".

Edward's revenge might seem childish. But it shows what power those once-close hold over each other. Edward doesn't have to spell it all out to Susan. She knows she hurt him once and he knows that she knows. He knows that what gives her some peace is the thought that perhaps, with time, he forgave her, or at least understood. He takes that comfort from her.

What did Susan do? She left a man she wasn't compatible with. She aborted a baby she didn't want. Whatever your personal opinion of it is doesn't matter; that's not the point. The point is that such things people live with. But Susan now has to live with more than that: the knowledge that she made a person she once loved suffer for the next 20 years. Suffer enough to regret his own softness and humanity (Tony's qualities that made the murder possible). Enough to turn into a man she didn't recognize anymore and to write a book just to make her suffer in turn.

3. The ending.

I've seen people write THERE IS NO ENDING AT ALL.

What happens in the end is this: Edward and Susan arrange for a dinner to discuss the book; she comes and waits; he never appears.

It might seem anti-climatic; but if you were in Susan's place, I guarantee you wouldn't say so. She realizes she'll never be absolved; that the worst possible interpretation of Edward's book was the intended one; that this story will soon be published. Maybe become a bestseller. Her past has caught up with her.

Thank you for reading and have a great day :)
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8/10
Secretly Philosophical
wisneskilife26 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I think IMDb doesn't give a good synopsis for Nocturnal Animals. So I'm going to give it a shot. A lot of people were disappointed with the ending, but you have to think about it for awhile to realize it's a sort of poetic/philosophical movie. The whole time everyone's telling Edward he's weak and sensitive. So he writes a book for his ex wife. In the book his wife and daughter are murdered by these terrible hooligans and the whole time he's trying to get revenge. He does and then immediately dies. Because of how well the book is written, his ex wife starts getting feelings for him again and reaches out to meet him. He stands her up and it ends. That's the movie. Sounds average. But break it down. The book is him getting stronger; it's not his wife and daughter getting murdered, it's Edward's weakness dying and his ex wife would be the murderers giving him reasons to get stronger. In the book, he spends time mourning and fantasizing about revenge. He finally gets his revenge and accidentally kills himself. How perfect is that? A part of Edward had to die to get over his ex and he wanted her to know. Now she finally wants him again and he's orchestrated this entire book/plan to just stand her up and prove that she's the weak one. Kind of a lot to process and maybe sounds cheesy, but I thought it was a good time.
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9/10
Can't people enjoy movies any more?
descobarledesma12 February 2017
Listen, I'm not a movie guru, I don't study arts, I'm just your average Joe that loves movies. I've seen lots of movies, I don't discriminate, terror, drama, action, animated you name it, I can perfectly differentiate between a bad from a good movie, I don't need the biased comments of the so called movie critics on IMDb. Thanks God I didn't pay attention to all the misguided comments about this movie, Nocturnal Animals is a beautiful & stylish movie, great photography, solid acting and a solid plot that will stay with you long after you finish it. I don't understand why there's so much envy and hate in the film industry, the wannabe movie critics can't take that a guy who came from the fashion world actually can created a pretty good movie. My fellow reader, please don't miss the chance to see this movie.
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10/10
One of a kind experience.
martin-nba12 February 2017
Easily the best film I have seen this year. Great performance by all the actors, fantastic plot with a lot of deep meaning and a very atmospheric soundtrack. It's a very unique film. It reminds me of Basic Instinct but without the sex and drugs. It looks like a 90s masterpiece brought from back in time, a solid prove that Tom Ford is a great director.

True love comes once in a lifetime, and we rarely get a second chance. This film is about revenge and personal progress in life, Its about how the decisions of the past can haunt our lives in the future and how the pain we cause to others always comes back to us. This movie sends a strong message to the people who easily give up on other people and never give them a fair chance to shine.

I can't understand why some people rated this movie 1/10, just the performance of the actors and the soundtrack of the film should be enough to give it a solid 5.
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10/10
This devilishly stylish thriller left me in a trance
bartonj241016 October 2016
Nocturnal Animals is a dark and devilishly stylish thriller from Tom Ford, who knows a thing or two about style having worked as creative director for both Gucci and Yves Saint Lauren in the past. It could have been in danger of being a case of style over substance however, Ford's perfectionism makes this one of the most powerful films I've seen all year.

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is an art gallery owner who spends most of her life at home alone, with her husband often out of town on business. When Susan receives a manuscript to a novel written by her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal), she finds herself immediately engrossed.

As Susan continues to read the novel, she has flashbacks to how her relationship with Edward broke down as well as thoughts that the violent thriller is a veiled threat against her from Edward.

I didn't know what to expect from Nocturnal Animals as I hadn't seen any trailers and Ford's film ended up blowing me away. The way Ford tells the story showcases how inventive and powerful he is as a filmmaker, the narratives of both Susan's life and Edward's novel combining brilliantly and leaving me in a trance like state.

Edward's novel provides the film with its dark soul, the story of Tony Hastings (also played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and his family who run into trouble when travelling through the night on the road to their country home. It's pretty heavy stuff but it plays an essential part in making this such powerful viewing.

This is a gorgeous film to look at as well, Seamus McGarvey's cinematography echoing the story's bleakness and the brutality of Edward's supposed veiled threat to Susan. The combination of the visuals with Abel Korzeniowski's dream-like score heightens the sense of escapism felt by Susan as she reads Edward's novel.

Coming to the performances, Nocturnal Animals features a very impressive ensemble cast all at the top of their game. Amy Adams yet again proves why she's one of the most versatile actresses with a performance that combines the assurance of an art gallery owner with the vulnerability of someone who knows they've made mistakes in their past. With this and Arrival out in the coming months, expect to see Adams get some form of recognition come the awards season, maybe for both.

Adams is joined by Jake Gyllenhaal, who takes on dual roles yet again for this film. Gyllenhaal has really grown as an actor, particularly in the last five years, and its great to see him continue that in Nocturnal Animals, more notably in the role of Tony Hastings, a creation of his other character Edward.

The rest of the cast features a scene stealing Michael Shannon, who I've really grown to appreciate these last few years, a career best performance from Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is truly vile as the villainous Ray, and Laura Linney who, even in the short space of time we see her, makes one hell of an impact.

I cannot speak highly enough of Nocturnal Animals, a stylish thriller that has more than enough substance to it. I will definitely be checking out Tom Ford's A Single Man after this and I sure as hell hope we see more work from Ford in the future.
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6/10
More style than substance?
alex_pearse13 November 2016
At the outset, i should make it clear that i don't think this is a bad film, but i felt the need to add a dissenting voice to the collection of positive reviews that i've read so far.

The film is an amalgamation of elements that should work beautifully, but ultimately resembles one of the sterile offerings to be found in Susan's gallery. The acting is superb throughout, and the nuanced performances of Amy Adams & Jake Gyllenhaal are worthy of their reputations. The subtle transitions from dead and lifeless to young and vibrant, exhibited by the former at various stages of the film, is one of the most striking features of the piece. The film is beautifully shot and well directed, and there are some truly moving scenes in parts. However, as one reviewer has already alluded to, the film feels like it is desperate to say something, but ultimately says very little. Perhaps i just didn't get it at all.

The problem i had was with a lack of emotional connection to either of the main protagonists. It's interesting to find out what happens to both as the film builds, but ultimately i didn't care either way.

My partner and i spent some time examining the film on the way home, discussing the parallels between the story at the heart of the film, and the realities that continue around it, but despite our rudimentary analysis of what each one meant for the other, and an understanding that there are some clever parallels, what remained was the underlying sense of "so what?".
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9/10
Living Well's the Best Revenge
kaptenvideo-8987529 January 2017
That's some terrifying stuff right there! Fashion designer Tom Ford has written and directed his second movie, a multifaceted revenge thriller which is even better than his first, 2009's "A Single Man".

Both are visually stylish, of course, which is expected from fashion guru, both have interesting premise and good actors, and both have this cold, unsettling atmosphere which tries to keep the viewer at some distance.

In short, Ford has managed to take everything good from his solid debut project and bring it to the next level with "Nocturnal Animals". It's more lively, gripping, effortlessly cool and deeper.

There are two stories, interwined in a way which may make viewers wonder whether it's real or imagined by the character. But it is ambiguous in a best possible way, not trying to f--k with our minds and then leave us hanging.

An unhappily married woman (Amy Adams) thinks she wants his first husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) back. And she reads his novel, a violent thriller, which seems like a revenge tale. And then things get more, er, complex.

On-screen events are exciting already but Ford the writer turns out surprisingly skillful at making it even varied, without getting stuck or losing steam, or letting us think that we know where all this ends up. He even playfully takes jabs at his main fashion job and the lifestyle and personal sacrifices that come with it.

And the whole result really makes you feel something for the characters, unlike many of the thrillers that only manage to arouse the viewer during their best bits.

It's not mostly about Adams and Gyllenhaal. There is a number of smaller but important characters and cool performances. We have Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Michael Sheen, Laura Linney.

The cast is good enough reason to watch it. Everybody adds something worthwhile to the experience, even Sheen and Fisher and especially Linney who all have rather small roles used to move the story along.

Shannon brings his usual magnetic mix of cool and creepy. Gyllenhaal manages to move between having balls and ball-less state without turning unbelievable or too heroic. Taylor-Johnson as the bad guy even got a Golden Globe for his work (the only one for the movie although Tom Ford got nominated for both best movie / drama and adapted screenplay). He really deserves it, he is evil at its most subtle and delicious. Delicious to watch, I mean.

But I am especially happy about Amy Adams who is often used in the movies as just a pretty face or supporting woman. In 2016, she has had two strong roles, in a thinking man's sci-fi "Arrival", and now this.

Her screen time may be limited but she surely makes the most of it, captivatingly playing out both worlds that the character has hiding inside her. I believed her both as a lively young woman and the jaded older one that's missing all the ideals that she had decided to throw away long time ago.

Based on a novel by Austin Wright which Ford wanted to adapt into two movies initially, one true to original, the other not so much. I am not sure which way he chose ultimately but what a ride, eh?

PS No, I am not giving 9 out of 10 to every movie I watch from now on. The last three have been just some of 2016's best of the best.
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8/10
When you love Movies you have to be careful with them, you might never get 'em again.
Marwan-Bob8 February 2017
So I just Finished Nocturnal Animals and to put as bluntly as possible I absolutely loved it and it might end up being one of my top 10 favorite movie of the year. Well it's basically two movies in one. One half appeals to my lust for grim blood soaked, dark genre fare while the other half plays like an interpersonal glossy drama that's just as compelling. Both feel as if they could hold entire films in their own right and grabbed me till the very end. It's much better if you go in cold so I won't really say much more but if you love a good thriller, crime drama or just good film making in general and it's playing near you please do yourself a favor and let Mr Tom Ford take you on a trip through some movie magic.
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9/10
mesmerizing visuals with thriller
screenslut9811 February 2017
The second film from designer turned directory Tom Ford was not just a visual masterpiece but had great narrative. The plot of the movie which is three narratives combined into one and tells the story of Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) an art gallery owner who receives a manuscript of her ex-husband's (Jake Gyllenhaal) thriller novel dedicated to her. The way that the story was told was bold, strange and very unique to me. Even though a movie with three narratives might sound clumsy but it wasn't, the stories of different time lines did not overlap each other rather it made the story complete with showing different aspects of the characters.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson's performance as Ray Marcus was definitely my favorite, he was so creep and repulsive to watch. The brilliant Michael Shannon was also in this movie as Bobby Andes with great Oscar worthy performance. Overall, I loved this movie for it's visual look and appeal of it's leading characters. While I was watching the movie I liked Tom Ford's directing style, storytelling, cinematography and after watching it I started to think about it while connecting the dots between the different narratives and it easily became my favorite movie to think about. If you really like movies that makes you think and eventually re-watch them over again then this movie is for you.
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9/10
Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Twice
seymourblack-126 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
An L.A. art gallery owner who's beautiful, affluent and seemingly successful is surprised to find herself miserable, disillusioned and unfulfilled. Intriguingly, about this time, she receives the manuscript of her ex-husband's debut novel and when she reads it and recognises its metaphorical nature, becomes consumed by feelings of guilt, regret and the desire to meet up again with the man who was her first crush.

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) and Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal) had fallen in love as students in New York and the idealistic couple later married despite the opposition of Susan's mother who considered Edward to be unsuitable because he lacked the necessary ambition and drive to be a good provider. Susan, at this time, detested her mother's preoccupation with materialism but later in the marriage, became frustrated at Edward's lack of success as a novelist and broke up their relationship because she considered him to be too weak and not a very good writer.

Edward's novel is a revenge thriller about a family of three who are driving along a West Texas highway at night when they get terrorized by a gang of vicious thugs, two of whom, kidnap Tony Hastings' (Jake Gyllenhaal) wife Laura (Isla Fisher) and teenage daughter India (Ellie Bamber), while the third gang member takes Tony to a remote spot in the desert where he leaves him stranded. Later, local detective Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) is assigned to the case and together the two men eventually discover the bodies of Laura and India who had both been raped and murdered. Tony, who is portrayed as a rather weak man, becomes obsessed with the need to wreak vengeance on all the gang members and with Andes' assistance, does so very effectively.

As she's reading, Susan reflects on the cruel way in which she ended her first marriage by cheating on Edward and secretly having an abortion when she was carrying his child. She also recalls him saying that "when you love someone, you work it out. Don't just throw it away. You have to be careful with it. You may never get it again". In the years since their divorce, she has learned that those words were true and that her choice of opting for materialism over love was misguided. She also recalls him saying, after she'd been denigrating his work, that "nobody writes about anything but themselves". This makes his story about a man who was driven to revenge following the loss of the woman and child that he loved even more poignant and moves her to respond positively to his suggestion that they meet up to discuss his book. This reconciliation, however, doesn't materialise in the way that she had expected it might.

Based on Austin Wright's 1993 novel "Tony and Susan", this absorbing psychological drama is incredibly stylish, well paced and a visual treat. The ways in which the action slips back and forth between different periods of Susan's relationship with Edward and the events described in his novel are also masterfully done so that the coherence of the whole story and its natural momentum are beautifully maintained throughout.

The entire production is well acted with Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal faultless in their lead roles and Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (as the leader of the thugs in Edward's book) providing very strong supporting performances. There's also a wonderful cameo featuring Laura Linney as Susan's mother which makes an incredible impact, especially considering its very short duration.
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10/10
Stylish and Thrilling
Raven-196926 September 2016
With a sudden thump on the window a wild bird is stunned. It is reduced to a heap of feathers and a barely beating heart. Through fantastic imagery, talented and stylish actors at the top of their game, an amazing and fastidious director, and an enthralling and thrilling story, the characters in the film go through transformations similar to that of the dazed bird. So did I. The film resonated deeply with me. "I just can't do this anymore." I was shocked with this line that was said to me in the same situation and manner.

Despite her wealth and ownership of a Los Angeles art gallery, Susan (Amy Adams) is troubled by the absences and indifference of her husband. She unexpectedly receives a manuscript from Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal), her long estranged ex-husband. Passages from the manuscript contain eerie parallels to her past and present life. Reality is strangely infused into the story line. As Susan reads, memories and emotions come flooding back. She struggled with unhappiness then. Despite significant life changes, she still struggles with it. She let go of a good man, yet maybe because she needed to. This is what she tells herself.

In Ford's stellar and meticulously made film, even side conversations have substance and pictures on walls are connected to the story line. Certain scenes alone make the film worth watching. This includes an unorthodox interrogation by actor Michael Shannon. Shannon is extremely ruthless and convincing. Laura Linney appears as Susan's mother. She is even more brutal, in her own way, than Shannon. In a separate flashback scene, where all that is heard is a heartbeat, I was spellbound. The unexpected ending, the even more surprising opening, the twists and turns, and depth of the film, thrilled and delighted me. Tom Ford's background in the design industry is apparent in the spectacular lighting, stylish clothes and sophisticated dialogue. In the second showing of the film in North America, Ford received a standing ovation. I stood too. I loved listening to him talk and teasing people in the front row for distracting him with their cell phone cameras. His theme; do not let go of love if and when you find it. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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2/10
Horribly overrated!
vinylvanilla22 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
What can I say about this movie? I think it's overrated, over-hyped, and overpraised. I believe media loves this movie because they're actually praising Tom Ford the stylist, not Tom Ford the filmmaker.

The movie undeniably has good qualities - beautiful cinematography, lavish costume design, amazing cast (Michael Shannon's performance is flawless and deserves an Academy Award).

However, the screen script is weak, pretentious and childish. The book written by Tony Hastin looks more interesting than the movie itself. I don't understand the need to tell a story inside a story when the main story line is weak, full of clichés and unconvincing.

The love story between Susan and Edward didn't convince me at all. It all seemed very poorly developed, the flashback moments were cold, they always seemed like two teenagers speaking - no substance, no deepness, nothing that Tom Ford's target audience would expect, I believe.

Edward's little plot of revenge is absurdly childish, also laughable. That's why the character is not convincing to me. It's all absurdly immature.

Honestly, I believe Tom Ford was more worried about making a visually impacting movie than actually a good one. He has yet a lot to learn about what is necessary to be a good filmmaker.
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1/10
awful/pointless exercise in despair with no redeeming qualities
LongDarkTeaTimeOfTheSoul15 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Not sure why this is getting such slavishly, raving, reviews (although I suspect it's because of the 'luvvie' aspect thanks to the director). It was painful, tiresome and somewhat hideous to sit through. It felt like a very poor nod to David Lynch, and the theme of despair and lack of redemption didn't add to it's lack of charm.

I read a review on the Odeon site which summed it up for me, so my review will loosely echo a guy on that site. The film starts how it means to go on - it assaults your senses in a really unpleasant way. There is nothing new or clever about this film; it's an exercise in bleakness, despair and much hand-wringing and naval-gazing by the main protagonist, Susan. Lest there is any doubt in the mind of the viewer about the theme towards the end, an art piece that spells 'revenge' is given a bit of air time and another angsty scene is written around it.

It's nothing but an empty, dark little exercise in despair, thinking itself more clever than it actually is. I nearly walked out in the first ten minutes from the opening scene alone. I wish I had.
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3/10
Don't waste your time, pretentious crap
sonelectric1 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Just got back from the theater. Don't understand the rating. Reading the reviews ... I feel lonely. I feel like these critics got their job too easy, or by scheming, or by sheer luck. Am I the only one who laughed out loud when Tony shot himself in the groin? Or when he, blinded by a well deserved blow to the head, stumbled out of the trailer? For those of you who think that I didn't understand the inner turmoil of the writer pictured there as a physical struggle.. let me put your mind at ease. I did and so should everyone, because this movie is a like a fake easy test you get just to feel good about yourself. No thanks. After twenty years this is his revenge? Showing her that he wrote a crap book? Making her feel alone, left behind, like he felt back then? Making her understand what he has been through, what she missed? Big whoop, she already knew and beside hurting a bit she didn't do anything about it. You know, like in real life. Tom Ford, master of the cinema verite.

I have a fun fact for you: did you know that when Ray is sitting on the toilet outside, and the cop tells him to get dressed, he wipes his ass with a page of the script? True story.

Joking aside, there is so much "The emperor's new clothes" thing going on in the movie business nowadays that my head hurts.

Anyway, trashing this flick is the only thing that makes me feel better after losing 4 bucks to this writer , director , fashion designer, lion tamer, electrician, etc, so I'm sorry if I upset anybody who was deeply moved by his movie, and will forever remember it as one of great pieces of cinema.

In all honesty, there are so many movies more deserving of good reviews, and it is sad that we don't have smarter critics.
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1/10
Extremely disappointing!
Gkaplan195922 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Unfortunately, Nocturnal Animals was completely unbelievable right from the beginning, with dialog that seemed written by a machine. Given the 'novel' idea, that might have been excused, but all the dialog in the supposed 'real world' was just as bad. The only actor able to shine through this pretentious crap was Michael Shannon, but after a time his character just disappeared from the story. And what was Michael Sheen doing in this movie? And the nude fat dancers? It really added up to nothing. And oh my goodness, what a payback for leaving a man and aborting his child: He got her to go to a dinner meeting AND DIDN'T SHOW UP! Wow! Now that's payback in a BIG WAY! Sorry, but this exercise in audience manipulation was a real disappointment after A Single Man.
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1/10
This movie is like sex without orgasm
nickijjohnson20 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Don't you love my title? Don't you love how I make a statement? Just like this piece of crap film thinks it does. I don't think the writer realized it was a movie not an abstract painting. Movies have purposes, movies have a beginning, a middle, and an end; movies that build to something usually lead somewhere but this pile of junk leads nowhere! Frustratingly nowhere! Hence the title of my review. It builds and builds and has no release it just ends abruptly if you want to call it an ending. so our leading lady is a cliché. She's a career woman married to a career man whose having an affair which is not shocking at all. She was married once before and her ex-husband,a novelist, sends her his book. Most of the movie is about the guy in the story whose wife and daughter are kidnapped and raped. He works for over a year with a detective to catch the murderers. Now why the entire movie was not that story instead is beyond me. I could give a crap less about how she left her novelist husband after aborting his child just to end up with a cheating husband. Who cares about that storyline since it had no point! That storyline ends with her being stood up in a restaurant drinking scotch. The end. Really? I also found out Tom Ford designs clothes. He should probably stick with that. And the beginning of this movie with fat naked women dancing in slow motion was supposed to be some crap statement when really it was just uncomfortable to watch and stupid. About as pointless as the film itself. The film creator is the man and the audience the woman in my mind. Having said that the "man" is pleased. They made money, managed to get brilliant actors to do their crap film, and live happily ever after in their mansions. I the "woman" or audience if you will am left unsatisfied and $9 shorter but hey glad i could contribute to their yachts. And for those who like this junk and think I'm too dumb to grasp metaphors if thats what this movie thinks it is, one big metaphor for something, I urge you to see a film called Silent House. That is a film full of metaphors and statements that work with a storyline that builds to an actual finale. This is the worst film of the year and I'm saying that in a year when the remake of Ghostbusters came out with a frigging female cast (ohh guess that makes me sexist) as well as the release of the ever so pointless sequel to Independence day. But this film? Absolutely terrible. Rubbish as the Brits say. I wouldn't Netflix it. I wouldn't Redbox it. I'd wait for it to come on Lifetime if you really want to see it that way you can take shots during the commercial breaks just to make it tolerable.
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1/10
A story within a story movie. but not a very good one.
djangozelf-1235123 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Because both of the stories told are lame.

Jake Gyllenhaal's character is a writer who sends his ex his latest book as a form of revenge by being successful by writing her as a character that dies in the book.

This book could not be a bestseller in real life cause the writing is lazy and to obvious for it's own good. If there is a plot in here somewhere I really missed it. Besides the stories matched really bad and it became confusing that you started to wonder if it were flashbacks from the story or from "actual life".

A lot of scenes dragged and scenes that could have made an impact are very numbed down and to much attention on boring art that had little to nothing to do with the movie. Dialogue felt really awkward sometimes and even messed up the characters even more because it made 'm come across like a bunch of snobs.

Also the same dialogue was repetitive and some exposition was first discussed and later on almost the same thing is discussed again. The movie is not that difficult that you have to explain yourself 2 to 3 times.

I mean what"s the point and why would a director treat his audience this way. I almost would think that the arrogance of this director is the reason critics rate this so highly while I view this more as form over substance thing, which is fine if your talking to an art house crowd but not for the average moviegoer.

Now I watched this to the end waiting for the plot that never came and Amy Adams getting stood up in a restaurant probably also waiting for the plot that never came and that sums up to a plot less movie.

There are people that like these kind of movies where style is more a factor than story if you don't mind that to much you might like this. Combined with a good story I'm all for style but sadly that wasn't the case here.

All there is left to say is...don't feed the (nocturnal) animals.

Thank you.
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1/10
Unispired
polarlightcasio22 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Its an uninspired and non-surprising moving. It's like Tom Ford thought "hey, let's make something with art" and used all tools he could find in his lunchbox. The end is non-surprising, the story between is non-surprising and it has logical deficits. Why does the sheriff not look at Tony, when he is searching for the killer of his wife and daughter? Why did Tony talk and talk and talk, but didn't shoot the killer in the first moment - haven't he seen in movies, what happens if I talk and talk to the killer? The only interesting character in the complete movie is the sheriff. The start of the movie - old naked dancing woman - is awful. If you have the impulse to run out the cinema - it is the right moment. This movie is a waste of lifetime.
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1/10
Implausible, over-stylised drama with zero substance
peggynight5 December 2016
You know those movies that you are angry at when they end because you can't get those 2 hours of your life back? Well, this is one of them. I could even give this a one word review but IMDb need 10 lines and that one word may be deemed offensive to some readers.

This... film... is more like a poor, over-budgeted tele-drama. But I guess it makes a lot of sense, as the film actually looks like it was made by a fashion designer; it is highly stylised, even slick but totally lacking in substance.

The exchange of dialogue, meaning and any chemistry between characters of the more than capable cast (I really dig Jake Gyllenhall) was slaughtered by what appeared to be the director's obsession controlling each and every frame, resulting in jerky and awkward delivery.

Also, this film ain't no thriller. There's even a cheap stunt employed that only the most b-grade non-thrillers pull: the quick flash of a scary image that's out of place to scare the bejesus out of you. Ridiculous.

Apart from the annoying directorial anal retentiveness rendering the actor's performance insincere, the story is just so totally and utterly implausible and leaves you feeling empty. While the book it's based on may be a story your imagination could bring to life, clearly Tom's imagination is either severely lacking or he's a huge fan of Days Of Our Lives.
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2/10
He had it, then he let it go !
nazztrader18 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The first few minutes were great - why didn't Ford just keep going? He could have made a totally absurdist/surrealist film that might have worked! There were hints of such a film here and there - the guy sitting on the toilet outdoors, the ridiculous dress that looked like the main component was electrical tape, etc. If you want to "challenge" the audience, that would be one way to do it. As it stands, I don't know what he was trying to accomplish here.

Another film that featured a novel being read is the little-known piece of soft-core Eurotrash called "Honey"/"Miele di donna" (1981), and while that didn't work either, one could easily figure out how it would have been a lot better. There were also bits and pieces that did work or at least were satisfying on some level. By contrast, I don't want to think about "Nocturnal Animals" any more - in fact, I was bored while I was watching it! The only thing one could do here, in my opinion, is to go into total absurdism - just present one bizarre scene after another, in a Felliniesque way.

The reason why this film fails so badly is because it's clear that the Amy Adams character feels so deeply about the story she is reading is because she pictures her ex-lover as the main character. Now that certainly makes sense for her, but not for the audience, leading to boredom (because we think of the novel as simply fiction in this context) and in some cases outright comedy (the novel is sort of like "Dirty Harry"/"Death Wish" but with an unhappy ending, so it's not exactly special in any significant way). So we are left with a woman who "has it all" but decides that being among the "1" leaves something to be desired. Perhaps the next Ford film can be about Americans who don't have health insurance, if the new President gets his wish - at least I could feel sympathy for those people, even those who stupidly voted against their own self-interests.

And the glowing reviews for this remind me to never trust "professional reviewers." Remember "Eyes Wide Shut?" Remember the glowing reviews for that one? That was worse than this film! And what about Woody Allen's recent films? We are living in "world turned upside down" times, with more people believing "fake facts" than obviously real ones, it seems (and opera singers who can't sing their roles, "reality TV" shows that clearly don't reflect reality, etc.). And that is when absurdism is needed most. Tom, call me if you want some help with your next film. You don't have to pay me or give me credit - I just want to see one director do something that speaks to the times. I think you are someone who can do that, but you appear to be too concerned about impressing the "special people."
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1/10
Awful
hari-8464723 December 2016
Probably the most unsatisfying movie of the year. This was just terrible. This movie could have been so much more...it had all the right elements put together in the right place to make the perfect thriller. And yet, when it came to those final moments were the audience expects it to deliver, to satisfy the viewer; it just turns into a royal/classy/elegant piece of turd with zero substance of a climax.

If you want to feel like banging your face on to the screen and experience how it feels to absolutely destroy 2hrs of your life, go ahead and watch this absolute nonsense of a movie.
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4/10
A movie requires more than one decent metaphor to hold its own for 2 hours.
sirlordbreakage5 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with a lot of people here who say this movie is undoubtedly one of the best looking movies of the year. It's probably no surprise coming from a director like Tom Ford, who was a fashion designer for Gucci before chasing filmmaking. This movie looks like a Gucci ad for the majority of its runtime and it's hard to fault him for having an impeccable attention to detail. Whether it's a closeup of Amy Adams' face or a wide shot of a deserted landscape, Ford certainly has a hell of an eye for a shot.

It's too bad that that's all there is to this movie. If this film were made by a less talented director, it would probably be a Lifetime Channel movie, and for most of the duration it feels like one; one artfully directed Lifetime Channel movie with masterful acting, but even still, Lifetime-tier. It's a shame that such a talented cast couldn't help elevate this film above its mediocre script. There are some deviations from the norm, like the main character being rich and being the owner of an art gallery she doesn't care for (which I'll admit I found to be an interesting dynamic), rich and still having a good relationship with her ex husband (ish), there's a few more but that's the few I can name off the top of my head.

Lots of people are claiming that this film is one complex masterpiece or whatever, but they couldn't be more wrong if they tried. The whole film is a metaphor for how awful divorce is, and problem is, it's so easy to tell, and it's all the movie has to exist on aside from a good performance from Amy Adams. It's clear from the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal plays both Edward (the ex husband) and Tony. Hell, the original book this film is based on is called "Tony and Susan". Susan basically reads this graphic and violent metaphor for how apparently horrible she is and feels bad about it. The metaphor is only communicated through the movie-within-the-movie to the point where the movie's actual plot is literally just... Amy Adams reading a book for 2 hours and feeling bad. That is literally her whole character arc. She reads a book and she feels bad. There is literally a scene where she looks at a live video on a co-worker's iPhone only to see the character in the novel that is supposed to be her jump at the camera lens. It's about as subtle as a brick to the face.

Not just that but the film handles how apparently horrible she is so callously. In the book, the plot is that Tony lost his family when a man and his deranged friend captured them and raped and killed them. So uh... what did she do to "rape and kill" whatever he had? Oh right, she had an abortion. Because heaven forbid a woman should choose whether or not she wants to keep a child from a man she's no longer with. And what happens after she gets the abortion? If you guessed "she feels bad", congratulations, feel free to take a cookie. Seriously, I'm no feminist advocate or whatever, but the treatment of women in this film is so callous it's beyond belief. We get it, divorce is tough. We don't need a violent perfume ad disguised as a movie to remind us of that.

When all is said and done, Nocturnal Animals is basically just a pretty looking A-list student film that thinks it's more clever than it really is. If this didn't have a master of aesthetic directing it, it would basically have just ended up as the Lifetime Network movie of the week it probably should have been. It's not offensively bad, it's just gorgeous mediocrity and a weak metaphor carrying a movie on fumes. It's like a bag of chips that's 80% air passing itself off as a full meal.
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8/10
Chilling and beautifully acted
gid-5749713 February 2017
This film was a wonderful exhibition of acting and cinematography. You can clearly see the work of Tom Ford in it and there are many things that draw comparisons to his debut film 'a single man.' Stylistically it is similar, most notably through the musical score. What impressed me most about it was the symbolism of the book that Amy Adams reads. You can clearly see that the wife of Tony represents Amy Adams' character in real life and what she used to be, from Edward's perspective. The character of Ray Marcus seems to represent what Susan then became from Edwards perspective after the terrible things she did to him. Ford also drops various visual cues in the story, such as the red couch that he finds his dead wife and daughter on, that represent things in the real-life narrative. Overall, the film was a technical wonder. The only reason I couldn't rate it higher was because the script didn't quite match the other aspects of the film and the themes the film was trying to explore were unclear. However, the film remains a harrowing piece of work and a great second feature film by Tom ford.
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1/10
The worst film I've seen in quote some time...
dr-gallacher10 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
As Tom Hanks' character in Big would say: "I don't get it". Why anyone is talking about this film in terms of awards flummoxes me.

This awful film wasn't helped by the marketing blurb that made it sound like it was a thriller in which the main female lead is worried about her ex plotting revenge. It was nothing of the sort. If she was even slightly worried I couldn't tell. I guess him sending her his awful book was revenge enough in itself.

The scenes in which the dreary woman moped about reading the book just made the film longer and increasingly dull. Maybe they were supposed to be art masquerading as cinematography? The best bits were the dramatization of the book. Tom Ford might learn some useful lessons by watching some of Peter Greenaway's films.

There was an excess of style of substance. What was the point of the corpulent women at the start? Or the nonsense in the pseudo-art gallery? This film was made by an aspiring artist - but not a storyteller. It was completely unsatisfying and I loathed it. If I had gone to the cinema on my own I would have walked out - it was that bad. It's a pity I can't award zero stars.
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1/10
Revenge
jmmccaig-50-85319326 November 2016
Beautiful, artful, well acted revenge upon each movie goer who receives a blast to the unconscious of unmitigated sadistic satisfaction from the filmmaker. Triumph is: First, I shocked you into disgust, then lured you deeper with artful beauty; then left you full of my need for revenge upon the consumer for whom I have contempt. He was correct: he knew the excellent performances, richly told, indigestible tale with no redemption would keep us in our seats based on earlier work of "A single Man". I'm guessing, some feel it is Shakespearean. I'd rather read the Marquis de Sade for the real thing. An artful blending of a novel telling and the reader who is lured (as is the viewer) into a drama meant only to evacuate the spleen of of the filmmaker and mortify the viewers -it works for the filmmaker/writer as he has the control over the deepest layers of the story which may leave him/them in a state of control, while we have been the mortified objects of his evacuation. This is a haute couturier's horror film. Period.
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