Nocturnal Animals

Where I Watched It: Netflix

English Audio Description Provided By: Media Access Group

Narrated By: Leilani Jones Wilmore

I actually really enjoyed what Tom Ford did with A Single Man, and I’m sorry I didn’t get to see Nocturnal Animals in theatres. He has some interesting visual choices that I’m sure don’t translate well when a narrator is trying to capture a director’s ‘vibe”. That’s just really hard to do. But, i can kind of imagine what he might have done with this, based on having seen A Single Man.

That being said, even though that film wasn’t straight forward and played around a bit with the timeline, it’s not nearly on the level of Nocturnal Animals, one of those rare films I feel like I actually need to see again to really have a full and complete opinion on the film. That being said,I’m a critic, and I also believe in first impressions.

I think that director’s can’t just make films so confusing, or intertwined, that people feel like they have to see them again in order to get it. You really are banking a lot on a persons will to repeat the same film, and that really only comes with film buffs who spend their time ignoring a lot of the mainstream releases pushed into theatres, and look for more artistic stuff like this that they can analyze.

I think there’s a place for those films, but at the end of the day, our spark likely came from the kinds of films those people now shrug off. The big budget spectacle films. Whether it was Star Wars, indiana Jones, Jurassic park, Jaws, or some other film that took full effect of the range of cinema, and what it can be, those of us who devote our life and times to this field came from that place. Sitting in a theatre somewhere as a child and just being in awe of something truly only our imaginations could have ever dreamed.

Not Nocturnal Animals. That’s not to say that it’s a bad film, it’s just not one that will inspire anyone to start loving and following film. So, the target audience here are those same film buffs who were blown away by a Death Star explosion, are now being asked to uncover the layers of this Tom Ford drama/crime thriller. Luckily, there’s an amazing cast here, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Isla Fisher, and yes, Armie Hammer.

I found the way the story was chosen to be told to be perhaps a bit more confusing than necessary, with it being a story in a story, and the ensemble, while good, is never quite given enough specificity to really soar in any role. Even Shannon, who constantly stands out in everything he does, fights for screentime here. I know critics adored Aaron Taylor Johnson, but I thought Shannon was the closest to stealing this movie.

Like I said, this rating is a soft rating from me. I think this is a film that wants you to watch it again to uncover its levels of perplexities, and for some that’s fine. For others, it’s likely they’ll never watch it again, and either love it or hate it based on one viewing. I don’t have an immediate plan to watch this, as there are a ton of films out there, but it’s rather a reminder to myself that perhaps a few years from now, I’d like to revisit this and see where I still stand.

Final Grade: B-

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