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Nocturnal Animals


Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Michael Sheen, Andrea Riseborough, Jena Malone, Karl Glusman

Director: Tom Ford

Ford's second movie, following A Single Man seven years ago, is an offbeat film noir centering on Susan (Adams), an artist/photographer in her late thirties, who long ago deserted her first husband Edward (Gyllenhaal), an aspiring writer, and is now saddled with her second, a philandering businessman (Hammer).

Out of the blue, Edward sends her an early print copy of a novel he's written. Its violent contents keep her up at night, recounting as it does the story of a man, Tony (Gyllenhaal again), who, driving at night with his wife and daughter (Fisher, Bamber), is forced off the road by three unpleasant, arrogant and aggressive characters who, after violent verbal exchanges, drive off with his family, leaving him to be abandoned.

Staggering back to civilization, his story is believed by a perceptive, if terminally ill sheriff (Shannon), who launches a murder hunt after the wife and daughter are found stripped, raped and murdered.

Unsavoury but often gripping, the film is nicely shot in noir style by Seamus McGarvey, its characters appropriately alienated from their surroundings, and has good performances, especially from Shannon and from Taylor-Johnson as the leader of the desperadoes.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 20 Mar 2017

DVD review