Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Jena Malone, Michael Sheen, Andrea Riseborough, Karl Glusman
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Story: Thriller written and directed by Tom Ford which is a “story inside a story,” which follows art gallery owner, Susan Morrow (Amy Adams), who is disturbed by her ex-husband’s, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal), latest novel when he sends it to her.
In the story we also follow the actual manuscript, called “Nocturnal Animals,” which revolves around a man, Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is on a family vacation in the vast, empty landscapes of West Texas with his wife, Laura Hastings (Isla Fischer), and daughter, India Hastings (Ellie Bamber). The vacation turns violent and deadly when they run into some trouble after they cross paths with a gang led by Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
Susan interprets Edward’s novel interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale, as she begins seeing parallels between her past and the story in the novel.
Verdict: Tom Ford has presented us with a mesmerizing, sophisticated dark thriller with some first rate performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Shannon. This is a movie that makes the audience really work in trying to understand what’s behind the different paralleling storylines and the story within the story. However, this style of complicated storytelling is not going to work for everyone and this is where it gets downgraded, but if you like rich, dark stories with a lot metaphors and symbolism then this is one that fully delivers on all those counts.REVIEWS
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 24)
Alessia: I’m worried about you, seriously. Just look at me for a second. Look at me. You scared me the last time we talked.
Susan Morrow: I’m fine. I am fine. I am, I am. I just can’t believe that I told you all of those things. I’m just kind of embarrassed, you know. Because what right do I have to not be happy? I have everything. I feel ungrateful not to be happy.
Alessia: As much right as anyone, Susan, as much right as anyone, because it’s all relative. You’re just awfully hard on yourself.
Susan Morrow: How do you do it?
Alessia: You mean with Carlos? I just, It’s… I’m totally cool with it. And having a gay husband is not such a bad thing, you know? We’re best friends. We love each other completely. I’m certainly the only woman in his life. And that lasts longer than lust, doesn’t it? It’s forever, really.
Susan Morrow: Hutton and I don’t have that.
Alessia: Did you ever?
Susan Morrow: I think we just want different things, or I want different things.
Alessia: Do you still love him?
Carlos: No one really likes what they do.
Susan Morrow: Then why do we do it?
Carlos: Because we’re driven. Maybe a bit insecure. We get into things when we’re young and because we think they mean something.
Susan Morrow: And then we find out that they don’t.
Carlos: Oh, Susan, enjoy the absurdity of our world. It’s a lot less painful. Believe me, our world is a lot less painful than the real world.
[Edward’s novel; after being forced off the road by local thugs, Ray Marcus, Lou and Turk]
Ray Marcus: Good evening.
Tony Hastings: Good evening.
Ray Marcus: You know you’re supposed to stop when there’s an accident, right?
Tony Hastings: Yeah, I know that.
Ray Marcus: Then why didn’t you stop, then?
[sees Tony’s daughter going to use her phone]
Ray Marcus: That won’t work. There’s no signal here.
Ray Marcus: You’re not supposed to leave the scene of an accident, it’s a crime.
Laura Hastings: After the way you were driving…
Ray Marcus: I’m sorry, what did you say?
Laura Hastings: Just the way you were driving was crazy.
Tony Hastings: Okay, so let’s exchange information.
Ray Marcus: Information?
Tony Hastings: Yeah.
Ray Marcus: Let’s exchange information.
Tony Hastings: [to Laura] Get it out of the glove compartment.
Ray Marcus: Okay, I’m a Gemini. My favorite color’s pale pink. I like long walks and kittens.
[he then laughs]
[present day; Susan has flashback to when she ran into Edward in New York]
Susan Morrow: Edward? Edward? Hi.
Edward Sheffield: Susan. Hi. God.
Susan Morrow: How are you?
Edward Sheffield: It’s good to see someone I know.
Susan Morrow: It’s good to see you.
Edward Sheffield: You look beautiful, as always.
Susan Morrow: What are you doing in New York City?
Edward Sheffield: I’m here for an interview for a scholarship at Columbia.
Susan Morrow: Columbia? I thought that you were at the University of Texas becoming a great writer.
Edward Sheffield: A great writer? uh, I mean, I don’t, I don’t think so. Well, I am. But aren’t you at Yale becoming a great artist?
Susan Morrow: Graduated Yale, but I’m at Columbia getting my master’s degree.
Edward Sheffield: Oh, wow.
Susan Morrow: Yeah, art history.
Edward Sheffield: That’s great. Yeah.
Susan Morrow: Listen, do you know anybody else in New York?
Edward Sheffield: Uh, just you.
Susan Morrow: Just me. Okay, well, would you like to go to dinner?
Edward Sheffield: Absolutely.
Susan Morrow: Okay. Okay, great. Just, uh, let me, just let me drop off my packages at my apartment.
Edward Sheffield: Alright, do you want me to grab them for you? I can hold that.
Susan Morrow: Yeah, great. Thank you. Oh, I miss Texas men.
Edward Sheffield: You don’t have blizzards like this in Texas.
Susan Morrow: No, you don’t.
[present day; continuation of Susan’s flashback of when she and Edward are having dinner]
Edward Sheffield: You know that you were my first crush when we were at Hastings? I only spent so much time around your brother just to be around you.
Susan Morrow: Well, you were his first crush.
Edward Sheffield: What?
Susan Morrow: Yeah.
Edward Sheffield: Well, I had no idea Cooper was gay.
Susan Morrow: You know, I don’t think he knew back then, but he was obsessed with you. Mmm.
Edward Sheffield: Wow.
Susan Morrow: Yeah. If I hadn’t caught you staring at me so much, I would have thought you were sleeping with him.
Edward Sheffield: I, actually, I feel terrible. I haven’t called him in a few years. I feel like I’ve been a bad friend. I hope I didn’t hurt him.
Susan Morrow: You’re good, you know that? No, you are. Most guys would have freaked out if they found out their best friend was in love with them. You’re very sweet. You should call him. He would like that. My parents have basically disowned him. They’re not really talking anymore.
Edward Sheffield: Why?
Susan Morrow: Why? Are you serious? Well, you know my parents, right? They’re religious, conservative, sexist, racist, Republican, materialistic, narcissistic, racist. I could keep going.
Edward Sheffield: I’m just wondering what you really think, Susan.
Susan Morrow: It’s true, I know. But they just see us as a reflection of themselves, so they can’t accept Cooper for who he is. I’m not sure how I’m going to fare.
Edward Sheffield: Aren’t you being a little hard on them?
Susan Morrow: No. They have an antiquated idea of how I should live my life. Especially my mother.
Susan Morrow: You are gonna be a great novelist, because you have created a fictitious character in your head about…
Edward Sheffield: No.
Susan Morrow: Yes.
Edward Sheffield: No.
Susan Morrow: Yes.
Edward Sheffield: No. I don’t believe that. Why did you give up on becoming an artist?
Susan Morrow: Because I’m too cynical to be an artist. I think that to be really, really good, you have to come from someplace inside that I’m just not sure I have.
Edward Sheffield: You underestimate yourself. Do you know that?
Susan Morrow: Edward, um, will you come home with me?
Edward Sheffield: Wow, that’s a bit forward.
Susan Morrow: Yeah.
Edward Sheffield: It’s not what I’d expect from a Texas debutante.
Susan Morrow: Well, you know all debutantes are sluts, so…
Edward Sheffield: Hmm. Hmm.
Susan Morrow: And you were my first crush too.
Edward Sheffield: I know.
[present day; Susan has flashback to meeting with her mother to talk about her relationship with Edward]
Anne Sutton: I mean, where is this going to go?
Susan Morrow: What do you mean, where is this going to go? I’m going to marry Edward. That’s where this is going to go.
Anne Sutton: This is a ridiculous conversation. You’re too young to get married.
Susan Morrow: Really? Mom, last summer you tried to convince me that I had to marry Bass.
Anne Sutton: That is different. Bass is your equal.
Susan Morrow: Oh, my God. Did you just say that? You really just said that. That came out of your mouth. That’s…
Anne Sutton: Why do you always think the worst of me? That is not what I meant. What I meant is that you are very strong-willed, and Edward, as sweet as he is, he’s too weak for you.
Susan Morrow: Weak is not a word that I would use to describe Edward. Sensitive is a word that I would use, which isn’t a word I would use to describe anyone else in this family, except maybe Cooper.
Anne Sutton: Don’t bring Cooper into this.
Susan Morrow: Sorry.
Anne Sutton: Come on, Susan. I know you think that we don’t care about the same things, but you’re wrong. In a few years, all these bourgeois things, as you so like to call them, are going to be very important to you, and Edward’s not going to be able to give them to you. He has no money, he’s not driven, he’s not ambitious. And I can promise you, if you marry Edward, your father’s not going to give them to you either.
Susan Morrow: No, you’re right. He’s not driven the way that you would like him to be. But he is strong. He’s stronger than I am in a lot of ways. Just, he just has a different kind of strength is all.
Anne Sutton: “A different kind of strength.” And what kind of strength is that?
Susan Morrow: He has the strength to believe in himself and believe in me.
Anne Sutton: Susan, keep seeing him if you have to, live with him, I don’t care, but do not marry him. I understand what you see in Edward, I get it.
[Susan shakes her head]
Anne Sutton: No, wait, I do.
Susan Morrow: No, you don’t.
Anne Sutton: Yes, I do.
Susan Morrow: No, you don’t.
Anne Sutton: He is a romantic. But he is also very fragile. I saw that when his father died. Don’t… Don’t do this. You’ll regret it. And you’ll only hurt Edward in the end. The things you love about him now are the things you’ll hate in a few years. You may not realize it, but you and I are a lot more alike than you think.
Susan Morrow: No, you’re wrong. You and I are nothing alike.
Anne Sutton: Really? Just wait. We all eventually turn into our mothers.
[present day; Susan is in her office]
Alex: You didn’t sleep again, did you?
Susan Morrow: You know me. I never sleep. My ex-husband used to call me a nocturnal animal.
Alex: What ex-husband? I didn’t know you had an ex-husband. Since when?
Susan Morrow: A couple of years in graduate school. It’s weird, I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, and then recently he sent me this book that he’s written, and it’s violent and it’s sad, and he titled it Nocturnal Animals and he dedicated it to me.
Alex: Did you love him?
Susan Morrow: Yeah, I loved him. He was a writer and, uh, I didn’t have faith in him. I panicked and I did something horrible to him. Something unforgivable, really.
Alex: You left him?
Susan Morrow: I left him. I left him in a brutal way, for the handsome and dashing Hutton.
Alex: Who is very handsome and dashing.
Susan Morrow: … and dashing. Yes.
Susan Morrow: Do you ever feel like your life has turned into something you never intended?
[Alex shakes her head]
Susan Morrow: No. Of course not, you just started living your life.
Alex: You really didn’t get any sleep, did you?
Susan Morrow: No.
[Edward’s novel; after arresting Ray]
Ray Marcus: You’re fucking crazy!
Bobby Andes: Tell him what we found there, Tony. You tell him. Do I have to? Don’t you know, Ray?
[Andes takes his gun out and points it at Ray]
Ray Marcus: Y’all are crazy. It’s crazy.
Tony Hastings: The bodies of my wife and child which you took back there and dumped. You’re the one. I know you.
Bobby Andes: What do you say, Ray?
Ray Marcus: You’re crazy. You’re making a big mistake.
Bobby Andes: Mmm, I don’t think so. I don’t think so, Ray. Put your hands out in front of you.
[he handcuffs Ray]
Ray Marcus: You got no right.
Bobby Andes: Got no right? Rights, rights, rights. You and your goddamn rights. Speaking of rights, I just want to let you know I’m recording this entire conversation. There. are you clear?
Ray Marcus: Mm-hmm.
Bobby Andes: All right, let’s go, Tony.
Bobby Andes: Oh, you raped them on the bed, I suppose.
Ray Marcus: I never raped nobody.
Bobby Andes: Stop fucking around, Ray. We seen your record. We know about that girl in Lubbock.
Ray Marcus: The charges were dropped, I never raped nobody.
Tony Hastings: I want to know, Ray. I want to know the exact story, what you did to them.
Ray Marcus: You’ll have to ask somebody else.
Tony Hastings: I want to know what they said. I want to know what my wife said and I want to know what my daughter said. I want to know how you killed them, and I want to know if they knew it was happening to them. I want to know what they felt! I want to know if they hurt! Answer me! Answer me! Answer me, you fucking bastard!
[Tony hits Ray in the face in anger]
Tony Hastings: What?
Bobby Andes: I told you, I got lung cancer. It’s metastasized.
Tony Hastings: But you smoke all the time.
Bobby Andes: Yeah, well, that’s how it works. What’s the point in quitting now, I’ll be dead in a year?
Tony Hastings: What are we going to do?
Bobby Andes: It’s a question of how serious you are about seeing justice done. You get me?
[Tony nods his head]
[present day; Susan has flashback to how her marriage to Edward is starting to fail]
Susan Morrow: You have to realize that this is not working. We are not working. We are too different. We are not right for each other.
Edward Sheffield: Susan, stop. We’re not right for each other? What are you talking about?
Susan Morrow: No, we’re not right for each other.
Edward Sheffield: We are perfect for each other.
Susan Morrow: No, we’re not perfect for each other, Edward. We may be perfect for each other if we didn’t live in the real world, but I live in the real world and I need a life that is more structured, I need a future that is more structured.
Edward Sheffield: Hey.
Susan Morrow: I want to be the person that you want me to be, but I just can’t.
Edward Sheffield: You are. You are.
Susan Morrow: I can’t be that.
Edward Sheffield: Hey, no, stop.
Susan Morrow: I, I really wanted to be this person that you thought I was, I really did, but I’m just not that person. I’m, I’m cynical, I’m pragmatic.
Edward Sheffield: No, look…
Susan Morrow: No, I am. I’m a realist.
Edward Sheffield: You’re afraid. You’re afraid.
Susan Morrow: No, I’m not afraid.
Edward Sheffield: We’ve been through this so many times before.
Susan Morrow: I’m not scared, Edward. I’m not scared.
Edward Sheffield: Alright.
Susan Morrow: I’m unhappy. I’m just really, really unhappy.
Susan Morrow: You’re so, you really are so wonderful, and you’re just so sensitive and romantic and…
Edward Sheffield: Weak.
Susan Morrow: What?
Edward Sheffield: That’s right, yeah.
Susan Morrow: I did not say you were weak.
Edward Sheffield: Why don’t you say it? You’ve said it so many times before.
Susan Morrow: I did not call you weak.
Edward Sheffield: You’ve said it before, so why don’t you say it again? Weak.
Susan Morrow: I did not say you were weak. I did not say you were weak.
Edward Sheffield: Do you love me?
Susan Morrow: That’s not the point.
Edward Sheffield: No, that is the point.
Susan Morrow: No, it is not the point.
Edward Sheffield: That is the point!
Susan Morrow: That is not the point.
Edward Sheffield: You didn’t answer me!
Susan Morrow: Yes, I love you.
Edward Sheffield: Well, when you love someone, you work it out. You don’t just throw it away. You have to be careful with it, you might never get it again.
Susan Morrow: I can’t do this with you anymore, Edward. I just can’t keep doing this.
Edward Sheffield: Susan…
[Susan starts to walk away]
Edward Sheffield: You can’t just walk away from things all the time.
[Edward’s novel; after abducting Ray and Lou]
Bobby Andes: Now, do you two have any last words you want to say to each other? Huh?
I think what we should do, Tony, is we should just kill them right now. It’s going to be rough for them out there, not knowing how it’s going to come. Maybe Ray’ll get killed for resisting arrest, huh?
[he points his gun at Ray’s head]
Bobby Andes: Coming home late at night, he might get shot by a burglar.
[he then points his gun at Lou]
Bobby Andes: Oh, you feeling uncomfortable, boy? Ooh. Come on up here. Yeah, you look like you’re feeling uncomfortable.
Lou: I’m sorry.
Bobby Andes: What?
Lou: I’m sorry.
Bobby Andes: What’s that? I ain’t going to kill you, son. I’m a policeman. What, you going to cry? Are you going to cry? Aw, okay. Well, since you’re feeling so uncomfortable, Tony, get over here. Take this.
[he hands his gun to Tony and holds Lou in front of him so that Tony can shoot Lou]
Bobby Andes: Go on, right here, okay?
Lou: Please don’t.
[as he sees Andes loosening Lou’s handcuffs as Tony points Andes’s gun at Lou]
Ray Marcus: Hey, hey. What about me? I might be feeling uncomfortable too.
Bobby Andes: Oh, yeah? Okay, come on up.
[he uncuffs Ray]
Bobby Andes: There you go. Free as a bird. Okay? How about it? What do you say, Tony? Now, what shall we do with these two? What you gonna do? What you gonna do, son? Come on. Come on.
[suddenly Andes looks ill and goes to throw up]
[present day; Susan has flashback to the time she aborted Edward’s baby]
Hutton Morrow: Are you okay?
Susan Morrow: I’m gonna live to regret this. I regret it now. You know, I’m Catholic. I don’t even believe in abortions.
Hutton Morrow: I’m so sorry. I feel so useless.
Susan Morrow: You’re anything but useless. You always know exactly what to do. Thank you. I just don’t think I’m ever going to be able to look at Edward again after what I did to his child.
Hutton Morrow: He’ll never find out.
[Susan starts crying and Hutton embraces her]
Susan Morrow: What did I do? What did I do?
Hutton Morrow: I promise it’ll be okay. I’ll make it okay.
[she looks up and suddenly sees Edwards standing in the rain watching them]
Susan Morrow: Oh, my God, no. Edward.
[Edward’s novel; after killing Lou and Ray gets away]
Bobby Andes: You know I had to shoot him, right?
Tony Hastings: I don’t give a goddamn fuck that you shot him! I’m glad that you shot him! I’m fucking glad that he’s dead! I should have stopped it!
[Tony yells in anguish as he cries]
Tony Hastings: I should have protected them. I should have seen it coming. I should have stopped it!
Bobby Andes: Hey, now. Hey, now.
Tony Hastings: I should have stopped it.
Bobby Andes: Shh. It’s okay.
Tony Hastings: I should have stopped it.
Bobby Andes: It’s okay. Hey. You’re okay.
Tony Hastings: I should have stopped it, Bobby.
Bobby Andes: Look at me. You’re a good man. You’re a good man.
Tony Hastings: Bobby.
Bobby Andes: What?
Tony Hastings: Are you in trouble for all this?
Bobby Andes: Hell, I don’t know. I don’t really give a shit. I’m dying, remember?
[after Tony has captured Ray and is holding him at gunpoint]
Ray Marcus: Listen, man, why does a nice guy like you hang out with a guy like Andes who kills people?
Tony Hastings: You kill people.
Ray Marcus: They had it coming to ’em, your fucking wife and that kid, but you, you got me wrong, it was an accident.
Tony Hastings: It was an accident?
Ray Marcus: I got a certain pride in how people talk to me. There are certain things I don’t put up with. When someone accuses me of something, that’s a fucking insult. It gives me the right. If my woman accuses me of fucking somebody else, well, then, I’ll go fuck somebody else. If your daughter thinks I’m a rapist, then she gets raped.
Tony Hastings: Nobody gets away with what you did to us. Nobody. Nobody.
Ray Marcus: They don’t?
Tony Hastings: Nobody. Nobody. Nobody.
Ray Marcus: Well then, you should just kill me, then. Right? You should fucking kill me. Man, you know nothing. It’s fun to kill people. You of all people should try it sometime.
Tony Hastings: Fun? It’s fun to kill people? Did you have fun killing my wife and daughter?
[as Tony has Ray at gunpoint, Ray has an iron hidden in his hand behind his back]
Ray Marcus: I remember your fucking wife. I remember fucking your wife. You’re too weak. Too fucking weak, you know. You’re too weak to do anything about it.
[suddenly Tony shoots Ray twice, fatally wounding him]
Ray Marcus: Son of a bitch!
[Ray suddenly hits Tony on the head with an iron bar; after becoming conscious Tony finds himself blinded, we see Ray is dead, due to his head injury Tony stumbles outside shooting himself in the stomach]
Total Quotes: 24