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Academy Award nominees Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal star in this haunting romantic thriller from acclaimed writer/director Tom Ford (A Single Man). Susan (Amy Adams) is living through an unfulfilling marriage when she receives a package containing a novel manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The novel is dedicated to her but its content is violent and devastating. Susan cannot help but reminisce over her past love story with the author. Increasingly she interprets the book as a tale of revenge, a tale that forces her to re-evaluate the choices that she has made, and reawakens a love that she feared was lost. Also starring Armie Hammer and Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals is a thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension.
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Susan (Amy Adams) is living her dream as a wealthy gallery owner with a luxurious home and a handsome husband. Her perfect life is shattered when a mesmerizing novel from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) appears at her door. They've had no contact in 20 years after she thinks he will never be the success she expects of her husband. As Susan reads the novel, we are transported to the world Edward has created. Gyllenhaal now appears as Tony in the novel faced with an unthinkable horror.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS is a movie of three stories. It's the miserable life of Susan and her philandering husband Hutton (Armie Hammer) along with the backstory of Susan and Edward's love story set 20 years ago in flashback. The meat of this film and the truly fascinating part of the film is the recreation of the novel as Susan reads it. We are taken into the world of the novel. It's easy to follow the three stories because of the use of lighting, location and setting.
The part of the film based on the novel is really the gem of this film. I would have rather this part be the entire movie and we could have skipped the Susan/Tony and Susan/Hutton stories. But, writer/director Tom Ford has crafted a film that requires us to follow Susan in the present and in the past. Edward's novel is haunting (and the viewer will be thinking about it long after the film ends). Look for easy to miss but obvious clues and the symbolism in the novel to understand why Edward sent it to Susan.
Gyllenhaal as Tony and Michael Shannon as Bobby, the determined to find justice law officer are really stand outs in this film and the interaction between Tony and Bobby are what will enthrall and fascinate the viewer.
Be prepared for the unexpected and to be haunted by the novel's story within the film and its tragic violence. I watched the bonus features which better helped explain the film and what director/writer Tom Ford envisioned. It's a beautifully-photographed film that will keep you thinking and wondering for days.
LOL, I actually had to watch a spoiler review/analysis video on Youtube to really get what this movie was all about. Kinda like when I watched Enemy. Anyways, I know i'm not the only one, so I don't feel all that bad about it, but - suffice to say, its deep and really worthy of examination.