By Theda (New York, New York)

 

Can a film be considered “good” or “a must see” if viewers cannot easily comprehend the ending without discussion and contemplation? My quick response would be, of course not. However, after watching Tom Ford’s newest movie, Nocturnal Animals, that initial impression is debatable.

There is something so wildly captivating about this film that allowed me to watch it with complete abandon. The saturation of color and intense darkness at all the right moments was distinctly engaging. The film was so beautifully shot that each image told the story just as much as the words did. Consider a dark poem in motion. I asked myself, “Do I listen or do I just watch?”

After watching the movie, viewers may be left wondering: what is the film truly about? Is Nocturnal Animals a story of revenge? Yes. At the same time, it reveals a type of bondage to material wealth and privilege while exploring the dark side of people. Just when we think we know everything about the story, the lens focuses on how life can intersect and collide no matter who we are or what we have or don’t have. Nocturnal Animals makes the statement that none of us are exempt from the desperation of hurt in any form, be it financial, social, or physical. Both dark and light surround our existence and we either decide to glide, stroll, walk, run, or sit, but we all make a choice. That choice can either hold us captive or provide freedom depending on how we see the world. 

Technically there are two stories; however, I see three tales that make the story whole. First is the story of a painfully broken relationship, and second is the book written that depicts the emotional, gut-wrenching pain surrounding that broken relationship. Lastly is an “in the moment” viewpoint that ties everything together. What is so interesting is that all three tales are told from the perspective of one main character who feels guilty, unhappy, and emotionally caged: Susan Morrow, played beautifully by Amy Adams. There are so many great descriptive lines throughout the movie. One of my favorites lines that can relate to everybody in the film and us all as humans comes from the character Susan: “I think that to be really, really good you have to come from some place inside that I’m just not sure I have.”

It isn’t just about revenge; it is a two-hour reminder that what we think about ourselves comes through in all our actions and interactions. Nocturnal Animals can be looked at as a salute to the artistry of abstract. Watching the movie is a lot like walking through The Museum of Modern Art: some works of art you love and others you don’t necessarily care for, but it was a delightful and insightful experience nonetheless.

Is Nocturnal Animals a “must see” movie? It depends on what type of moviegoer you are. If you are the type who wants a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat with nonstop action and a hero that saves the day, save your money. If you want to grasp the storyline and plot during the opening frame and be hand-fed the plot and sequences so you know what is happening, this is not your kind of film. If you want an ending that explains things and ties the story up in a little bow, you will be very disappointed. But If you want to experience a mesmerizing adventure in storytelling that shines a light on dissatisfaction, relationships, and the unpredictability of life, while at the same time absorbing the genius use of metaphors, then sit back and enjoy this first-class ride. Unlike the character Susan Marrow, who is depicted in the movie as unable to find her talent and worth, Tom Ford doesn’t have that problem. He has once again” gone to a place from inside to bring us something that is really, really good,” and I thank him.

Rating: 4/5

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