Nocturnal Animals (Blu-ray + Digital Download) 
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An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband's novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.
From the manufacturer
Susan (Amy Adams) is living through an unfulfilling marriage when she receives a package containing a novel manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The novel is dedicated to her but its content is violent and devastating. Susan cannot help but reminisce over her past love story with the author. Increasingly she interprets the book as a tale of revenge, a tale that forces her to re-evaluate the choices that she has made, and reawakens a love that she feared was lost.
Nocturnal Animals is presented in 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround.
Nocturnal Animals was shot on film, making it practically 'old school' in the digital age. The image certainly shows the film format's strengths. It's a texturally rich film, grainy but finely complementary to the movie's tone. Textural bounties are abundant.
Faces are impressively complex, whether smooth and makeup-enhanced faces or gritty, sweaty, sun-baked West Texas skins, the image captures significant nuanced detailing in every close-up. Environments and clothing are richly defined, too, more so in the sun-soaked West Texas locales and less so in the smooth and contemporary real world, but there's no shortage of tangible, tactile clothing textures and environmental supports, both natural and manmade, both clean and rugged. Colours are fantastic. Adams' blue eyes and red hair and lipstick stand apart from otherwise cold and clean modern lines while the novel's Texas setting is awash in harsh, but even, contrast with an accentuating warmth and edge. Black levels are gorgeously deep. Nighttime blacks are hugely impressive, showing tremendous depth and detail without pushing to crush or greyscale. Skin tones are accurate to the environment and lighting.
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It turns out to be a bleak story about a married couple going on a trip with their teenage daughter. Their car gets run off the road by a group of crazy rednecks leading to his wife and daughter being taken from him and then subsequently raped and murdered. As she continues to read, Adams begins to have a lot of flashbacks of her former relationship with Gyllenhall as in many ways the story seems to mirror what happened in their marriage together. She left him for another man and then discovering that she was pregnant with Gyllenhall’s child, decided to have an abortion leaving him devastated.
Excellent performances from Adams and Shannon who plays the lawman that tries to bring the criminals to justice (in the book).
A woman played by Amy Adams is prompted to re-evaluate the life choices she made some years ago, when to her surprise she is sent the manuscript of a novel by a writer who she almost married and started a family with some years ago, when he was unpublished and had no sure career future.
At the time, partly on her parents’ advice, she decided marriage to a businessman and a career managing a trendy modern art gallery were better prospects. Reading the novel, about a family who suffer a grim fate when set upon by thugs one night in a remote part of Texas, she realises that it is in some sense about the family life she and the writer could have had together, and the writer’s feeling that she ‘killed’ it when she left him.
Personally I think the writer is overdoing things although I think we are supposed to sympathise with his point of view.
Some of the film is about Amy Adams’ character’s actual life; some of it is dramatised scenes from the novel. The ending of the film is surprisingly low key and uneventful, but is meant to imply that writing or reading the novel has allowed them both to move on emotionally.
There were two parts to this film that I disliked watching.
The first is the opening scene which for reasons not initially explained but which turn out to be something to do with a weird modern art display, consists of fat, wrinkly old women dancing absolutely naked. The sight of all that droopy old flesh may put any younger men who see this film permanently off the whole idea marriage, if that is what their wife’s body will look like one day.
The second is when the family fall victim to violent thugs at night on a desert road in Texas, and the daughter and wife are snatched away to unpleasant fates. This is not a horror or blood and guts film and the bad part is as much what we imagine happening as actually see on the screen.
A well-made film that leaves the viewer with some vivid memories. Those who are not too squeamish and who like serious-minded films about relationships may well be enthusiastic about 'Nocturnal Animals', but it is not the kind of genre I personally would particularly seek out again.
Finally, while the movie covers some violent acts, including rape (all in the characters novel), none of the scenes are particularly graphic and the rape scene is suggested rather than explicit. Mostly it was psychologically disturbing which is what thrillers often are.
After my first watch i thought the film was ultimately shallow however on my second viewing there is more depth to it than i first thought.
Amy Adams is phenomenal as always, this and Arrival in the same year with no Oscar nomination, what the hell happened there?
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