Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Karl Glusman, Robert Aramayo, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Sheen, India Menuez.
Revenge is something we all think of at some point or another, whether it is actionable is one thing, whether it is truly desirable is another and the question of how long do you wait is always hanging in the air, too soon and you may just look like a jerk, petty and insecure, too long and you look as though you were never truly able to let go of the issue and all that pent up rage cannot be good for your soul. Yet in Nocturnal Animals, arguably one of the films of the year, revenge is twisted, it is portrayed within the story, both stories, with grim fascination and with immediate lust and for that alone deserves to be recognised as true cinematic class,
Whilst Amy Adams gives a subtle but stirring performance in the film as art gallery owner Susan Morrow, the reflection both seemingly in the actress herself and in the part of a fragile woman being driven to the point of alienation and the guilt that comes with revenge, it is too her male colleagues, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson which the screen belongs, the tale of revenge and the settling of scores is one that gives each of these actors the very reason in which they perform, to which they are actors of the highest quality.
Both Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon are unabashed in the way they hold the attention of the viewer, the dynamite which resides in them naturally explodes with the force normally reserved for a charging bull elephant having had a bad day at the office and coming home to find a group of zebras flirting and dining with its wife, it is brutal, it is wild but it is magnificent to see take place and it beguiles the viewer into believing that revenge can truly happen.
Nocturnal Animals is an exceptional film, a tale of neo-noir well produced and packaged before the audience, a cinematic joy which you find yourself really getting into despite the knowledge of where it has taken you and where the director asks you to go if you were placed in the same shoes and one that has the finest, most cruel but ultimately satisfying pay off in any film for at least two decades. A rapture of a performance which never stops being bountiful.
Ian D. Hall