Plot: Woman, man, book, relationship, fear.
I’m just gonna say here this film deals with some dark dark shit, please read the full BBFC guidelines here if there’s certain stuff that you really struggle to watch. It’s rated 15 by the way but that doesn’t mean it’s not intensely unsettling at parts.
I loved Nocturnal Animals. I really loved it. Tom Ford has managed to do something here I find remarkably impressive and it is the kind of film that hours after leaving the cinema I’m still thinking about.
For me this is really tough to write without spoilers so I’m sorry if the majority of this review is a general: this is excellent, please watch it, this is also one of the reasons why it is this review is quite short.
At the start of the film you get an image of a vacuous and unhappy existence that Amy Adams is living when she gets a book in the post from her ex-husband based around something I really want to avoid talking about because I think it’s better to go in with as little knowledge about this story as possible. What I will say though is the book is dark and awful and terribly powerful and shot in a way that makes you feel physically scared of looking at the screen at some points.
There is one cut during the film and you will notice it instantaneously where the horror of one side of the story is contrasted cleanly and messily with the other and at that point it made me feel slightly uncomfortable seeing the images in front of me but that was exactly what the film was trying to make you feel and certainly for me it succeeded.
Through the whole of all of the stories being told, Tom Ford’s visual stylings are clear and stunning. Every frame is immaculate. Every image is striking and the cuts… there are no words for some of them. Everything the audience sees and the things they don’t see are planned precisely and thoughtfully.
The way music and sound is used in this film is like a nightmare. There are moments of total silence and there are times when the noise takes up the whole story and both work excellently, giving a feel of disconnection and being physically struck, occasionally at the same time.
In terms of length Nocturnal Animals is less than 2 hours long and ends at a point where you want more, something so rarely seen in recent times.
If I were looking for flaws I would say the final scene feels slightly generic compared to the rest of the film and there is what is essentially a jump scare at one moment that did change the way I watched the rest of the film slightly. Frankly though, with how incredible and compelling the rest of the story was these felt like minor flaws.
What Nocturnal Animals is, I feel, is visceral and meaningful and to quote so many other people, you take from it what you put in. The visuals are haunting, the audio is tailored to perfection. The acting, which I haven’t even talked, is top of their game from every cast member. As a piece of film-making I just loved it.