Friday, December 9, 2016

Nocturnal Animals - Movie Review

Starring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Karl Glusman, Laura Linney, Michael Sheen and Jena Malone.
Written & Directed by Tom Ford.


When we get the opening credits, these grotesquely obese women are dancing naked, in slow-motion, in front of a red curtain. After the actors were listed, I closed my eyes for most of the rest. Once the opening credits are over, the movie backs away, and the jarring opening does make sense in the overall story being told here.

Amy Adams plays Susan Morrow, an art gallery owner. She's wealthy but in a second marriage on its last legs. One day she receives in the mail a manuscript from his first husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal). The book is called "Nocturnal Animals" and he has dedicated it to her.

Susan reads the book, and we get the story-within-the-story about Tony (also Gyllenhaal), his wife Laura (Isla Fisher, who looks a lot like Adams), and their teenage daughter India. They get run off the road by some ne'er-do-wells led by Ray (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and the dreadful suspense builds and builds.

As Susan gets more involved in the story, we see flashbacks of her own life. We see her and Edward when they first started dating, and when they were married, and what led to their split.

The impact of the story as a whole is one I keep thinking more and more about. This is the type of movie where you want to talk with other people about it. The acting's great. Adams and Gyllenhaal are solid. Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla), who isn't one I always enjoy, is seriously creepy here. And Michael Shannon, who shows up as a cop in the book, is just one of my favorite working actors. I'd watch him in anything.

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