Nocturnal Animals Blu-ray Review
Based on a novel by Austin Wright, Nocturnal
Animals is a thriller-drama produced, adapted by, and directed by
Tom Ford(A Single Man) with producer Robert
Salerno (21 Grams, We Need to Talk About
Morrow (Amy Adams) is the owner of an art gallery who receives a
the mail for a book not yet published. The book is entitled "Nocturnal
Animals" and it is written
by Morrow's ex-husband Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal). The title of
book is something her husband once called her. She ponders the
it a symbolic form of revenge or an attempt to reconnect?
Separated for years, Morrow is now
married to Hutton Morrow (Armie
Hammer), and the pair live in a disconnected relationship. While Hutton
having an affair Susan is alone to read the manuscript. As she quietly
the novel it plays out within the film. During these sequences, Tony
Gyllenhaal) is having a family vacation with his wife Laura Hastings
Fisher) and daughter India Hastings (Ellie Bamber).
Things turn violent when the
dangerous Ray Marcus (Aaron
Taylor-Johnson) and his group of thugs terrorize the family on the
evening ends in death and it is up to Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) to
Tony find and bring to justice Ray and the others. Outside of the novel
storyline, Susan flashes back to her marriage to Edward Sheffield and
relationship unfolds via flashbacks.
Despite Amy Adams getting
first-billing, Jake Gyllenhaal is arguably
the lead of the film. He has the most material to work with during the
He has the most difficult part as he plays both the ex-husband and the
character in the novel which is told within the film. Both actors
deliver strong performances. Amy Adams
has less to do in the film but is just as impressive in her part.
The film has a number of good
production values. The production design
by Shane Valentino (Beginners, The Normal
Heart) is well designed and
interesting. Costumes were designed by Arianne Phillips (Walk
the Line, 3:10 to Yuma)
and utilize many of the clothes made by Tom Ford. These are often
designs and are quite impressive in the film. The music score composed
Korzeniowski (W.E., A Single Man) is
dark, moody, and
perfectly befitting the story. The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey (The Avengers, Atonement, Pan)
is one of
the film's best strengths and it alternates creatively between the
Susan Morrow in the present, via flashback, and through the book.
The screenplay by Tom Ford is full
of symbolic imagery and metaphors.
It's such a prominent thing in the film that it's practically in every
Some of these metaphors are a bit over the top, though. The film can
it's too focused on creating metaphors between the different storylines
and it makes
the film seem less focused on character development. Ford directed as
he is well known as an acclaimed fashion designer, Ford has taken an
in filmmaking in recent years. He certainly has a craft for visuals and
stylistic filmmaking and its clear with this film that he has a unique
Nocturnal Animals is certainly a flawed
film: it takes fewer surprising turns than expected and it is more
telling a dramatic storyline. At least the film mostly makes sense
given that the
dramatic storyline involves three different arcs: this aspect could
badly handled but it's largely well executed. The film would have been
with some surprises and better character development. It has uneven
certain scenes. There's even an odd production goof surrounding the
ages of some
of the actors. Even so, it's a creative film which is certainly
a moderately entertaining thriller which has plenty of style which
worth seeing at least once.
Nocturnal Animals arrives on
Blu-ray from Universal with an impressive 1080p high definition MPEG-4
encoded presentation in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1
widescreen. The film looks rather remarkable on Blu-ray and has great
reproduction (preserving the cinematography by Seamus McGarvey). The
naturally filmic and yet has a sharp, crisp, and modern style to it.
presentation is near-perfect and won't disappoint fans of the film.
The audio is presented in
English 5.1 DTS-HD
Master Audio. The film has a surprisingly good sound design which is
creative without being as bombastic. The score music sounds great with
lossless audio as well. The fidelity is strong during the presentation.
Dialogue is easy to understand.
Subtitles are provided in English
SDH (for the deaf and hard of
hearing), French, and Spanish.
Please Note: This is a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo
The Making of Nocturnal Animals is a
featurette (which can be viewed with a 'play all' as well) about the
of the film.
The three parts are as follows:
Building the Story (4
min., HD) focuses on the story in the film and how it is broken down
storylines. Director/screenwriter Tom Ford discusses his approach to
for the film.
The Look of Nocturnal Animals (4
min., HD) explores the costume designs and the fashion that was
designed by Tom
Ford and featured in the film. The cinematography is also discussed.
The Filmmaker's Eye: Tom Ford (4
min., HD) centers upon the directorial vision of filmmaker Ford
approach to making and telling this story.
Nocturnal Animals is an ambitious film
from screenwriter-director Tom Ford. It features strong performances by
and Jake Gyllenhaal. The thriller-drama is stylish and unique visually.
storytelling isn't quite as strong as it
could have been, Ford has a distinct vision which makes it worth
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.