I’d say my expectations for Nocturnal Animals were pretty high. I remember it getting a decent amount of hype when it came out and receiving some awards attention too (between Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and SAG). I wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy it, but I felt a bit.. dissatisfied at the end. It left me wanting more.
So many elements of Nocturnal Animals were working in its favour. The cast was spectacular. Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams (especially), Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Isla Fisher (for what little screen time she had). All the characters were compelling and engaging. There was never a dull moment. The visuals and overall tone of the movie were excellent. My heart was racing, particularly during the initial highway encounter and abduction scene. The opening scene is quite unique and a little shocking, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know why, and I found myself theorizing almost immediately about the rest of the movie; wondering what the significance was and what implications that scene could have for what was to follow. The bulk of the movie was very thrilling and enjoyable to watch.
When a movie makes you theorize and gets your heart racing, it needs to deliver a satisfying resolution or gasp-worthy twists before heading into a big reveal. You could argue that Nocturnal Animals is more of a thinker, less about the shock value and more about the big picture parallels, but for me, I needed something more. Especially when the movie is carrying three narratives (which I liked and thought was done well), I was expecting a bigger “a-ha!” moment to pop up eventually.
The Ugly Bottom Line
Nocturnal Animals had a lot going for it but fell somewhat short. I appreciated the intellectual journey but hoped for a more exciting experience at the end of it all.
If you’ve seen Nocturnal Animals, let me know what you thought! You can leave a comment, or
Find me on Twitter