The Gist: A visibly unsatisfied gallery owner receives a copy of her estranged ex-husband's new novel. The story is raw and violent, and triggers a resurgence of painful memories.
Nocturnal Animals is Tom Ford's second movie (after A Single Man), and it's two for two as far as I'm concerned. He's a talented director, able to craft visually appealing films, and capable of extracting powerful performances from his actors.
He also wrote both of his cinematic efforts, but while I thoroughly enjoyed his first script, this time something was amiss.
Don't get me wrong, the story is gripping and sometimes even too much so (the scene with the cars at night was so tense that I felt physical discomfort, something that rarely occurs to me). You certainly won't be bored, and yet, something feels incomplete about it. Perhaps it's a couple holes in the screenplay, or maybe just a feeling of sterility, but it ultimately affected the final grade.
Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and even Armie Hammer all deliver solid performances. Laura Linney, in a small cameo, is impeccable.
The Bottom Line: If you enjoy thrillers, I would definitely recommend this one. Be forewarned that it's very intense at times, but it's definitely worth checking out.