A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.
A "story inside a story," in which the first part follows a woman named Susan who receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband, a man whom she left 20 years earlier, asking for her opinion. The second element follows the actual manuscript, called "Nocturnal Animals," which revolves around a man whose family vacation turns violent and deadly. It also continues to follow the story of Susan, who finds herself recalling her first marriage and confronting some dark truths about herself.
At the outset, i should make it clear that i don't think this is a bad film, but i felt the need to add a dissenting voice to the collection of positive reviews that i've read so far.
The film is an amalgamation of elements that should work beautifully, but ultimately resembles one of the sterile offerings to be found in Susan's gallery. The acting is superb throughout, and the nuanced performances of Amy Adams & Jake Gyllenhaal are worthy of their reputations. The subtle transitions from dead and lifeless to young and vibrant, exhibited by the former at various stages of the film, is one of the most striking features of the piece. The film is beautifully shot and well directed, and there are some truly moving scenes in parts. However, as one reviewer has already alluded to, the film feels like it is desperate to say something, but ultimately says very little. Perhaps i just didn't get it at all.
The problem i had was with a lack of emotional connection to either of the main protagonists. It's interesting to find out what happens to both as the film builds, but ultimately i didn't care either way.
My partner and i spent some time examining the film on the way home, discussing the parallels between the story at the heart of the film, and the realities that continue around it, but despite our rudimentary analysis of what each one meant for the other, and an understanding that there are some clever parallels, what remained was the underlying sense of "so what?".
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