Nocturnal Animals


(spoiler free)

Whilst I am still to see Tom Ford’s directorial debut, ‘A Single Man’ I needed no encouragement in checking out his second project, ‘Nocturnal Animals’. With a cast as strong as the one featured here I would have been buying a ticket regardless of the subject of the film. The film is a psychological thriller adapted from the 1993 novel ‘Tony & Susan’. Although I suggest that it’s best to know as little as possible going into this movie.

In the films opening seconds you’ll wonder what freak show you have wandered into and it wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of audiences are completely put off. From the offset the film was fighting to win me back, however it accomplishes this just as fast as it initially lost me. I urge you to stick with the film as it’s really quite special. The narrative is very intriguing and the way in which this story is told is really well thought out. The film tells several stories and things had the potential to get very confusing, thanks to editor Joan Sobel though this isn’t the case and it could well be the best edited movie of the year. The stories told here are so atmospheric with many being consumed with tension certainly earning the film the thriller label. Thanks to this the pace is perfect, the film easily eats up its two hour running time and you’ll never want to look at your watch. Accompanying the narrative was a superb score by Abel Korzeniowski. At first it is reminiscent of the old James Bond movies suiting our characters stylish but outlandish quarters and as the film goes on it develops into something much more sinister contributing in volumes to the tension I’ve already discussed. This is the first work of Korzeniowski’s I’ve heard but he is certainly a name I’ll be listening out for from now on.

As I mentioned previously this film has a very strong cast. There are several supporting members involved here too which I wasn’t aware of until I saw them appear on screen. The likes of Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Jenna Malone, Micheal Sheen & Laura Linney all rack up acting credits in varying sizes of roles, all adding quality to the picture. However, the film has four main stars who are all brilliant and deserve much credit for bringing the film to life. Michael Shannon plays police detective, a role that could have been quite bog standard, although Shannon makes sure that his character has reason to exist. Aaron Taylor-Johnson appears like you’ve never seen him before, giving one of his most impressive and terrifying performances to date. The two leads are Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, both have very different roles to play and unsurprisingly they’re both fantastic. Gyllenhaal continues to showcase what a travesty his lack of an Oscar is and Adams upholds her current form in a subtle but powerful performance. The film is certainly full of stunning performances but the cinematography and look of the film rivals this. The entire time I felt like I was watching a more substantial version of ‘The Neon Demon’. So if you appreciated the technical aspects of that film but were craving a little more narrative, ‘Nocturnal Animals’ could be the comprise you’re looking for.

Without a doubt one of my favourite films of the year, Tom Ford has demanded my attention and he’ll forever be on my movie radar now. This film is crafted so well, each separate element such as the score, storytelling, editing, performances and cinematography are strong but what is more impressive is how well everything blends together creating a wonderfully deep, entertaining and thought provoking film.

Rating – 9/10

Question: Which films editing has impressed you the most this year?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)

Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.


14 thoughts on “Nocturnal Animals

  1. Great film! I really, really, really recommend A Single Man. Very sombre, sad and intimate and it looks amazing of course. Brilliant review as always!

  2. Agree with you, definitely my favourite film of the year so far.
    Need to catch A Single Man as well now after this showing from Tom Ford.

      • I’ll probably just collect a copy from CEX to add to the collection. Patiently awaiting Arrival this weekend, catching Embrace of the Serpent tonight.

      • Love CEX, great shop – I’d have done the same probably just didn’t know when I’d next have got a visit in. Arrival is very good, haven’t heard a bad word about it. I haven’t seen that yet, missed it earlier in the year when it was in my local independent cinema. I’m catching Train to Busan tomorrow hopefully!

      • Really enjoyed Train to Busan, most enjoyment I’ve had with a zombie film in a long time. Definitely will be getting the Hollywood treatment within the next five years. Yeah Denis hasn’t done a bad film in my eyes yet so very much looking forward to Arrival. Embrace is just screening locally for one night only at the independent cinema here.

  3. Great review and film! Totally agree with you with the bond reference I thought it as well, know exactly what scene your talking about. Looks like Tom Ford has a sense of class in film and fashion. Again great review.

    • Thanks man, appreciate you reading it. I’ll look forward to reading yours if you’re planning on reviewing it. As a massive Bond fan this element to the score was a big plus for me. I think I’m going to watch Ford’s first film today, ‘A Single Man’.

      • Yeah going to start writing it this afternoon. Think it fit so well and even more so that Tom Ford designed the suits for Daniel Craig apparently. Already added it to my watchlist after seeing NA

    • It really was wasn’t it? Editing is something I don’t often pick up on in films but it would be criminal to miss the great work done here! Certainly in with a chance, I think she has more luck with ‘Arrival’ but surely between the two performances she is a must for this years nominees. Nice review mate!

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