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  • Writer's pictureGuy Jeffries

Nocturnal Animals Review

Director: Tom Ford.

American fashion designer, Tom Ford directs and writes the screenplay of this very stylish thriller that's based on a novel that's about a novel, with only the original source having a different title, "Tony and Susan" by Austin Wright.

The opening certainly sets the tone for the rest of the movie which is many things, shocking, unsettling and disturbing if not grotesque. Absorbing, beautiful and profoundly vengeful.

The central characters being Amy Adams' Susan, a seemingly materialistic art gallery proprietor who receives a book proof from her ex-husband after many years of silence, Edward, an author played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

It arrives at a pinnacle moment in Susan's apparent synthetic life. As if to add salt to a wound as she starts to read the harrowing story about weakness, destruction, justice and revenge. The story is visualised, with Gyllenhaal dual-playing as the novel's protagonist who seems to have an analogous connection with it's author.

It's painful to watch as a nightmare of Susan's visual translation of the book is played out. Taking heavy breathers where she has time to digest and reflect on her own reality, often dipping into the past for background and reason, slowly coming to terms and her position in life.

These two stories co-exist and align themselves superbly sharing hints and subliminal images. It's unpredictable with much guess-work and becomes a total inconclusive mind-melt that leaves so much to ponder and discuss.

Incredible performances, especially Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon who offer equally powerful performances with a shocking cast of supports and cameos. Michael Sheen, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Jena Malone and an unrecognisable Andrea Riseborough. Kick-Ass Aaron Taylor-Johnson is brilliant, unnerving and unsavoury as the story's main antagonist.

The score by Abel Korzeniowski is good and very fitting for the suspense and mood of the film. Soft pianos and gentle hums to ascending key-bashing and strings help convey the cold and dark world created by both director and writer.

Tom Ford's creative talents are certainly showcased here, forming a perfect amalgamation of art and story together with brilliant set pieces, costumes and even purposefully place masterpieces. I could be wrong but I'm positive I spied a Jeff Koons sculpture poolside. He truly shows the fabric of film with metallic and then coarse materials.

Powerful and intense. A masterpiece. A true thriller.

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 9

Performance: 9

Direction: 9

Story: 9

Script: 8

Creativity: 9

Soundtrack: 7

Job Description: 10

The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for making me leave the screen still trying to digest what I had just seen.

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yes!

88% 9/10

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