Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Nocturnal Animals

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Director: Tom Ford
Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Rating: R

I was so excited to see this movie. The anticipation was killing me. I'm a fan of writer/director Tom Ford, Jake Gyllenhaal is in my top 5, and I've done a movie with Amy Adams (seriously, see "Trouble With The Curve"). While the trailers don't give you much of an idea as to what the premise entails, the actual plot is very different from what I was expecting. Even if you go into this blindly, it will take you about halfway through the film to get an idea of what's going on. Gyllenhaal and Adams do a terrific job in their roles, and you'll see lots of friendly...well...familiar faces in this film. However, there's no need to rush to see it in theatres, and don't rush to see it period if you're easily creeped out, like me.

Former spouses Edward and Susan (Gyllenhaal and Adams) are reconnected when he sends her a manuscript of a brutal and haunting novel he has written and dedicated to her. I would really be doing you a disservice to divulge more of the story line. I'll note that several scenes made me incredibly uncomfortable, even beginning with the opening credits. "Moonlight" was one of the most stressful films I've seen in a long time, but "Nocturnal Animals" was stressful in a different way. It felt almost invasive. Terror versus discomfort, really.

Michael Shannon brings utter fabulousness to each one of his supporting roles, and doesn't disappoint here as a West Texas sheriff. He is a wonderful character actor and has had quite the year (including a small part in "Loving," a beautiful story but rather slow film). Aaron Taylor-Johnson is getting buzz for his role as psychopath Ray, and rightfully so. Several of his scenes are charged with utter depravity. He plays disgusting very well.

This film will leave a bad taste in your mouth. It's dark and haunting, but for some reason, you can't look away. Perhaps its because you want justice done for the characters who were wronged, or perhaps its (thankfully) just so different from all of our lives that we find relief in the fact that its pure entertainment. Or, perhaps it's because Amy's wardrobe in the film is sensational. She's getting so much screen time this season and I love it ("Arrival" beats "Nocturnal Animals" any day). If you were hesitant to go see this in the theatres, your instincts were correct. Wait until you can watch it another way and don't worry - there's plenty of awesome stuff coming out in the coming weeks you can catch.

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