Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Nocturnal Animals

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An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

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Cast

Amy Adams – Susan Morrow

Jake Gyllenhaal – Edward Sheffield

Laura Linney – Anne Sutton

Armie Hammer – Hutton Morrow

Andrea Riseborough – Alessia Holt

Michael Shannon – Bobby Andes (fictional)

Isla Fisher – Laura Hastings (fictional)

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Different

Filmed in a truly unique way, this movie almost sent me into a trance just watching it.

Ok, not literally. But I was fully engaged during each scene, captivated by the dream-like cinematography and sullen characteristics of each person. Director Tom Ford keeps the action free of boredom with the use of limited performers and scenes that don’t pull any punches in terms of bringing the goods to the viewer.

The car attack scene for example; emotionally terrifying (for character and viewer) and it only contains a maximum of four actors. The more stark the picture the higher the tension, and it works superbly.
Gillenhaal wastes no time either in rolling off a tormented, broken father figure. He keeps the state of tension high with a hell of a lot of crying and remains a solid beacon of anguish. The story is tough on the chap; the things that happen to his character are probably every father’s worst nightmare, and it makes for extremely harsh viewing. Sexual harrassment, sustained threat, rape.. it’s not pretty. But although grisly, these sinister plot twists blend well with Adams’ quietly sombre scenes, adding a huge depth to Nocturnal Animals‘ structure.

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Ford does good at staging the element of storytelling in a subtle style; I.E. Susan (Adams) laying on her bed gingerley turning the pages of the book she reads, then she stops – focuses on something on a page – and the softly-lit, sombre scene then bursts into devastating action as Edward (Gillenhaal) gives the written words life. This is storytelling at its most creative; having the lead character read a book silently to herself and then her scene suddenly shifting in to someone else’s (the character in the book). And it flows well too, especially with scene jumps:
Edward gets slammed against his car in the story,
Susan jumps slightly and shivers in real life.
This movie plays is the progression of a woman’s imagination, and it makes for an interesting watch.

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Just Adams’ sultry way of doing absolutely nothing was interesting. All the woman had to do was perch on the edge of a stool, one leg crossed over the other with an expressionless gaze on her face, and she held the screen perfectly. Add a dash of fluid camerawork and bingo – Nocturnal Animals is a briliantly arty little production. Something about this movie is subtly intoxicating. It is not crammed with a shitload of actors or scenery, nor is it bursting with high-octane scenes. It simply uses great acting and effective cinematography.

Don’t get me wrong – this movie isn’t a blockbusting groundbreaker that changed my life. But its production style is very unique and I liked this element. It’s what makes it so special.

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Dreamy

..no I don’t mean Gyllenhaal.
Although those puppy-dog features – they are adorable.

I would.

In seriousness, I link ‘dreamy’ to how this movie itself is staged.
With its dreamlike sequences, Nocturnal Animals is the type of feature you’d want to cozy up and watch alone to appreciate. Misty scenes give way to delicate performances and it is artistic; certainly not an action-fuelled pumper for a group of people to jeer and ‘whoop’ over (the horrific car scene is far from Fast & Furious, trust me).
Adams brings a light performance to screen, where less certainly is more displayed through simple gestures and body language. And Hammer tones right down to throw a brilliant bastard amongst the blend of distinguished characters and rich, colourful cinematography.
Good stuff.

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Nocturnal Animals isn’t a bad watch. It isn’t exactly one of my 2016 favourites, but it made an impact and I was captivated the entire time.
But what went wrong?

For once, I’ll let you decide when you watch it.
If you watch it.
Just be prepared for it..

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This entry was posted on December 16, 2016 by .
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