Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Nocturnal Animals is a drama with a beautifully realised, multi-layered narrative from fashion designer turned director Tom Ford. A gallery owner played by the ever wonderful Amy Adams receives a manuscript for a novel sent to her by her ex-husband, dedicated to her and entitled Nocturnal Animals, a term of endearment her used to use for her.
The film’s narrative unfolds in two directions, a narrative following Adams character reading the manuscript and remembering meeting and falling in love with her ex-husband, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Another narrative follows the events of the book, an neo-noir tale of violent murder and revenge. To give away anymore would be to spoil the absolutely fantastic story, rest assured though, it is worth the watch.
Performance wise, there is an embarrassment of riches in this film’s impeccable ensemble cast. Adams & Gyllenhaal are both great, Gyllenhaal in particular is on fire in this film. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, whom I actually didn’t recognise until I saw his name in the end credits, plays a West Texas redneck in the novel narrative with scary conviction and restrained menace. Michael Shannon also brings his A-game as a rundown Texas lawman, desperate to find justice.
If you are a fan of intricately layered, expertly delivered psychological drama that leaves the viewer open to levels of their own interpretation of events, this is a film that you are going to want to see. Superb.