Let me start this by saying that going into this film, I was some what hesitant. I love every actor in the film. When a specific few actors star in a film, I will watch it, Jake Gyllenhaal is one of these actors. On the other hand, I really wasn’t finding myself very hyped or excited for this film, saying that this is a great film and please join me while I explain my ups and downs with the film.
Here is a quick non spoiler review of the film, please do not carry on after this paragraph if you haven’t seen the film.
Nocturnal animals is a film what will attack your emotions and morals. It positions the characters into scenarios what make us question what we would do in their situations. We as the audience become truly drawn into the film and can’t seem to stop watching. Elements like the cinematography, the direction, the script and the acting are all elements that draw us into the film and just as we have bought into the film we are attacked with this story. That all being said there were parts what were some what lack luster, parts of the story were not as interesting and the editing in the film was some what a let down. I will get into all of this in detail as the review goes on.
This film affected me and made me ponder some scenarios, much like another Jake Gyllenhaal film, Prisoners. Both of these films made me question and think. The biggest draw for me to go and watch this is Jake Gyllenhaal, he is in my top 5 favorite actors around today, anything he stars in I will see but I was finding myself not looking forward to Nocturnal Animals for some reason. This film just goes to validate why Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favorite actors, he is a pleasure to watch but there was one major scene stealer in this film, his name is Michael Shannon. Any time this man is on the screen we are just drawn to him, you can’t help but buy into his character completely. This isn’t taking anything away from anyone else in the film. Amy Adams portrays this lost, hardened woman who seems to know what she wants while having no clue what she actually wants. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a dual role, he is playing a man who wants to write but no one seems to take him seriously, we don’t see too much of this man but we almost exclusively see Jake Gyllenhaal play another character in the film. The quick synopsis of the film is that Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal used to be a couple, when they were together she would read his writing and not be very keen on it, they break up and she gets remarried and then one day a book comes to her door from Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) and he has dedicated the book to Susan (Amy Adams). She reads the book and half of the film becomes the book, we see the book played out on screen.
Like I stated everyone in the film is great, we get to Michael Shannon. I can not sing enough praises about this performance he gives, he plays a officer of the law helping Tony who is Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in the book. Finally Aaron Taylor-Johnson is great in this film, he plays a complete dick who you can’t help, there is nothing redeemable about this character. It took me maybe 10 minuets before I realized that it was Aaron.
I am going to delve into the story and what did and didn’t work for me. I honestly found myself, a little bored at the beginning of this film. It just couldn’t draw me in and catch me, until maybe 20 minuets into the film. When Susan (Amy Adams) starts to read the book, I did a 180 and was drawn into the film and couldn’t take my eyes off it. For me personally, I wasn’t overally excited about the story of Susan, I just found myself waiting for the story of Tony and the book to continue. Amy adams gave a good performance but I just didn’t really care for the character. The story of the book is this man Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his family, a wife and daughter are driving through I believe Texas until Ray (Aaron Taylor-Johson) gets involved, him and his 2 friends start to terrorize the family, eventually they get into the car with Tony’s wife and daughter and drive off. We find out a little later that his family had been raped and murdered, this of course leaves Tony pissed off and upset, so him and officer Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) attempt to get the 3 men responsible put away for what they did. So far so good, the whole part of the film about the book has me on the edge of my seat, I truly did sympathize for Tony and questioned what I would have been like in his position. We then skip a year ahead and this is where the gets a down for me. The editing and the explanation for time passing isn’t very well down, they just suddenly start to get the men responsible for the crime and they say it was last summer, without any indication or explanation, now maybe that was the point to fell, confusion and caught off guard but it didn’t work for me. We go through a big story with Tony and Bobby and their story ends almost perfectly, there were one of two things what could have happened to feel more satisfied with the story, for example there is no explanation what happens to Bobby, nothing at all when the film is ending. I feel the lazy way to get out of this, is to say that Edward isn’t the best writer (in the film) so that is why there is loose ties at the end of the film, but like I said that would be lazy for me. Now to the story of Susan, basically she wants a catch up, maybe more? With Edward and they plan a night together, a dinner but Edward no shows Susan and the film ends like that. To me this left me with a sour taste in my mouth, what if anything has happened between Susan and her current husband? I just didn’t enjoy the ending at all.
As I have said, the story with Susan and the “real world” didn’t really draw me but the story of Tony in the book, truly amerced me in this world, I bought into everything and I couldn’t stop watching. The editing was I thought somewhat poorly done in this film, it would just go from real world to the book with no warning, just sudden which didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the film.
I really enjoyed this film and the parts what were good, were really good which just made the downs for the film stand out that much more for me. This is one of them films, I don’t need to see once a year but I am so glad I saw it you should go see it to. I will give this film a 8/10. This was truly a great film but there were some things what didn’t deliver. Have you seen it yet? Are you looking forward to it if you haven’t? My Twitter page will be at the bottom of the post, go to my Facebook page or just simply comment below, thanks.