Movie review for Nocturnal Animals
About Natalie Keshing
The last deed for the dead man walking…Actor Michael Shannon’s character Bobby Andes, a local sheriff and lead investigator in the movie “Nocturnal Animals” was the most interesting and believable character. Bobby Andes was confronting his own personal challenge while trying to help someone find their family and identify the men who committed the most horrible crimes to this family and serve justice outside of a long drawn out court hearing. Neither Sheriff Andes or the person who survived had nothing to lose.
Amy Adams beautiful persona gives a spirit and soul to Susan Morrow.
Actress Laura Linney plays Susan Morrow’s mother to perfection in a cameo scene. You witness her pretentious allure while crushing her daughter’s confidence and sending her daughter straight into Edwards arms; but not for long.
Jake Gyllenhaals acting performances in the “Nightcrawler” and “Prisoners” were superb. This role didn’t quite fit as Tony Hastings.
The movie starts in the present going back to the past 20 years ago. Susan, now in the very present realizes the only man she truly loved was her first husband Edward who is now a famous author and has sent her a copy of his new book.
Of course memories of Edward passed through Susan’s mind more than a dozen times in 20 years. “Whatever became of Edward?” flashed in her mind. After their inequitable love passed the lust and changed to face the responsibilities of true life. Edward Sheffield played by actor Jake Gyllenhaal was an aspiring writer but broke. Susan Morrow played by Amy Adams came from the wealthiest of families trying not to repeat her mother’s miscues; mistakes. Susan was convinced that most rich people are very unhappy people. Susan’s pretentious mother warned her about marrying Edward, “Don’t do this. He is too weak for you? The things you love about him now you will grow to hate.”
Filled with only happy memories, Susan’s mind takes us back to remembering on that fateful night and lucky chance when she ran into Edward on the cold winter streets of New York City. Amy Adams as Susan is hardly wearing any makeup giving her a fresh and youthful appearance. They were a very young and impressionable couple; both working on their careers. It sounds romantic and full of excitement like the happy couple in the movie Barefoot in the Park. On that cold night, Edward said to Susan, “You were my first crush.” Powerful words coming from a young handsome man making Susan feel beautiful and special on a cold snowy night. But life’s responsibilities and challenges reveal themselves soon enough and that’s the real test to staying married.
Twenty years later Susan Morrow is the owner of a very chic and eccentric art gallery. Her life is rich and filled with regret asking her co-worker, “Do you ever feel like your life is turning into something you never intended?” Susan’s co-worker asks Susan if she still loves Edward and Susan replied, “I did something horrible to him. I left him enamored away.” The most heart gut wrenching feeling when someone leaves someone else enamored away.
There was a technical mistake made in the movie when splicing the continuity and sequence of scenes in the movie. Susan shares with her current husband that Edward wrote and sent her his new novel. Her current husband replies, “I didn’t know you were married before Susan?” Then in the movie sequence Susan’s second husband accompanies her to get an abortion carrying Edward’s child. Susan says to her second husband, “I am going to live to regret this someday.” The words and actions that come back to haunt us.
While her second husband is out on travel and his cheating ways are making Edward feel more and more like her ultimate regret, she finally picks up the book and starts reading.
“Nocturnal Animals” starts off with a family going to visit more family in Texas. Visiting that part of Texas that’s dusty and dry and there are fewer and fewer public stations or places to call for help in the darkest of one night. The driver and father Tony Hastings is now following behind two cars driving side by side. Hastings, in his haste starts honking the horn at the car occupying the passing lane. Finally, the car moves into the second lane. Tony passes and what should have been a relatively insignificant occurrence; Tony’s teenage daughter in the back seat of the car throws a finger in the spotlight of the car now behind them. There’s the invitation. The excuse what bad and evil men will do.
These psychotic narcissistic hoodlums were out to have what they call a night of fun. As you might of guessed this turns uglier. After both cars hitting and smashing Tony’s vehicle, they eventually run him off the road and come to a stop. Three guys looking pretty scruffy and dangerous. The kind of danger that three men can commit to two very pretty women, the mother and daughter.
In the book, only one person survives and finally makes their way to the local sheriff’s office where Bobby Andes is prepared to help the only survivor get justice.
Too many spliced scenes were put together making the movie look choppy. The movie lacked some bonding scenes to present this movie as a whole story. The actors chosen to play Tony Hastings and his wife could have been cast by an older actress and actor. But that was impossible because Jake Gyllenhaal was cast to play Edward and Tony Hastings in the movie.
The movie was told by three different perspectives; Susan, an unhappy married woman, Edward, Susan’s first husband playing Tony Hastings in his new novel and Sheriff Bobby Andes who was determined to get justice.