DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals (15)

Director: Tom Ford

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"Do you ever feel like your life is turning into something you never intended?"

Welcome a highly unsettling cinematic ‘tale within a tale’ of Susan Morrow (Amy 'Batman v Superman’ Adams) receives a manuscript of a disturbing novel entitled ‘Nocturnal Animals’ from her ex-husband Edward (Jake ‘Nightcrawler’ Gyllenhaal)…

It's art darling

Edward was the love of her life but Susan left him and destroyed is life by aborting his child. Now their paths look set to cross again after 20 years as he wants her opinion on his novel.

We meet Gyllenhaal again as the fictitious Tony, a guy with a lovely family – gorgeous wife Laura (Isla Fisher on great form) and teenage daughter India (the incredible Ellie ‘Pride & Prejudice & Zombies’ Bamber). One night on a long road trip their lives become a living nightmare when they run into some very unfriendly ‘Nocturnal Animals.’ The aftermath of which leaves Tony broken and desperate for revenge.

harsh times

The clever interplay of the exceedingly hard to watch attack on the family and the effect the novel has on Susan is masterfully handled – the resulting emotional damage is both intense and riveting. Adams is great showing real range as Susan as she recalls her first marriage and starts to confront some dark truths about herself whilst all the while affecting an ‘everything’s cool’ outer veneer. Her facetious art world buddies are no help and her current husband Hutton (the superb Armie ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ Hammer) is more interested chasing other women.

Director Tom Ford whose day job is as a fashion designer delivers a super stylish, very dark thriller based on the book ‘Tony and Susan’ by Austin Wright. Ford’s arty stylings are apparent from the titles as hugely overweight naked women dance naked as part of an art exhibition, it’s mesmerizing but also slightly queasy at the same time – and certainly throws down a challenge to potential viewers.

danger signs

Nocturnal Animals is an absorbing, melancholic revenge-em-up that will leave you pondering the dark heart of man and the very nature of relationships. The performances are excellent, special props to Adams, Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon (as local cop Bobby Andes who just wants to bring a little more justice to the world before he dies from lung cancer). Jena Malone gives good cameo support along with Andrea Riseborough whilst big villain of the novel Ray Marcus (Aaron ‘Kick Ass’ Taylor-Johnson) is a brilliant character study in swaggeringly hateable but charismatically unsavoury drifter.

at least the cast had fun making it by looks of things

Everything really works to create a masterful dark thriller that will burn into your subconscious and leave you shaken and stirred.

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Beware but enjoy the animals of the night )...

Awesomeness öööö – Clever and disturbing scenes abound

Laughs ö – Not much by way of funnies

Horror öööö – Very nasty in places and uncomfortable throughout

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Treat those you love with care

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