Movie Review: Nocturnal Animals

Details: Released in 2016. About two hours long. Stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon.

Nocturnal Animals is one of those artsy films that tries to put forward a film that leaves lots of questions for the watcher to interpret at their discretion. I’d say it was an indie film except for the fact that there are so many big names in it.

The movie follows two story lines. The first takes place in the real world. Amy Adams plays an art dealer who receives a manuscript from her ex-husband. Adams’ character is dealing with problems in her professional and personal life and decides to read through the manuscript. The second story line is the story from the manuscript and focuses on a father (played by Jake Gyllanhal) who gets into trouble with some miscreants on the highway while driving with his family. The story from the manuscript is a story of loss and death.

As I said before, the film is open to interpretation, but there is clearly a link between the two stories. Gyllanhal plays the husband and father in the manuscript story line and he plays Adams’ ex-husband in the real world story line. While Adams does not play two parts, the manuscript’s wife character is played by Isla Fisher, who bears a striking resemblance to Amy Adams’ character. It’s clear to me parallel’s were meant to be drawn.

While I was intrigued and got through the whole movie, there were parts that slowed down for me. Additionally, there were moments, like in horror films, where the characters do obviously stupid things that broke the fourth wall for me and made me cringe, specifically in the beginning of the manuscript story line when the wife and daughter were acting the fool. Ultimately I forgave these stupid character moments because I felt they were intended to reflect some of the bad decisions made in the real world story line and that the ex-husband was trying to convey something.

There was some good cinematography here, too that’s worth a mention. I always enjoy a good landscape shot.

Overall, an interesting film that I can see people loving or hating. It was all right for me, though I’m not sure who I would recommend this film to.

Score: 6.3

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