NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (2016) – My rating 7.5/10

nocturnalanimalsThis unusual psychological thriller is a story within a story that takes you on a surprising journey. Not knowing what to expect, I was delighted by how well Nocturnal Animals kept the audience fine tuned into the events as they happened, despite the constant flipping between the novel and the real life story of the reader.

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) received a manuscript written by her x-husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal) along with an invitation for dinner during Edward’s upcoming visit to Los Angeles. Susan is currently married to businessman, Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer) who is unfaithful and currently having an extra marital affair throughout the movie. During her marriage to Edward, Susan deemed Edward a failure as a writer and ended their marriage when she terminated their child by having an abortion without his knowledge, 20 years ago. She is convinced his novel, which he sent to her, asking for an opinion, was nothing more than revenge for her behavior when they were married.

As Susan starts to read the novel titled, Nocturnal Animals, she becomes so engrossed in the story she can’t put the manuscript down. Edward had sent the novel to prove that he was not a failure and that he was quite capable of writing a successful novel. The movie actually flips to the novel about a family man, happily married to India Hastings (Ellie Bamber) with a daughter on family vacation, when they encounter the Ray Marcus gang (Aaron Taylor-Johnson – gang leader; Lou (Karl Glusman – gang member); Turk/Steve Adams (Robert Aramayo – gang member), who forces them off the road. The three thugs beat Tony Hastings, (Jake Gyllenhaal) the family man in the novel, kidnap Tony’s wife and daughter then drive off with Tony and dump him somewhere along side the road, unconscious. With Tony’s wife and child missing, he eventually hooks up with a Lt. Graves (Graham Beckel) who helps him search for his family and the Marcus gang.

Nocturnal Animals continues to flip between the novel and real life showing us and Susan the terrible flaws in her character and judgement. The novel holds you to the edge of your seat and will keeps you guessing about what becomes of Susan, her husband and his affair. I was well entertained, surprised and thrilled — Nocturnal Animals is definitely worth seeing, great performances, great story.

{BTW, Aaron Taylor-Johnson won the 2017 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture,  for Nocturnal Animals!}

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