Nocturnal Animals

When you love someone you can't just throw it away
When you love someone you can't just throw it away


D: Tom Ford

Focus Features/Fade To Black (Tom Ford & Robert Salerno)

US 2016

116 mins


W: Tom Ford [based on the novel "Tony & Susan" by Austin Wright]

DP: Seamus McGarvey

Ed: Joan Sobel

Mus: Abel Korzeniowski

PD: Tony Valentino

Amy Adams (Susan Morrow), Jake Gyllenhaal (Edward Sheffield / Tony Hastings), Michael Shannon (Bobby Andes), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ray Marcus), Armie Hammer (Hutton Morrow), Laura Linney (Anne Sutton), Isla Fisher (Laura Hastings)

Nocturnal Animals is a multi-layered thriller clearly modelled on the neo-noir style of David Lynch, which adopts a non-linear thread for its multiple storylines and is most certainly not for those with short attention spans.

Based on the novel 'Tony & Susan' by Austin Wright, the plot opens with art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) aggrieved with her neglectful husband when she receives an unpublished manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield, a man who she left 20 years earlier.

As she begins to read the novel, titled Nocturnal Animals, the film within the film unfolds, with mild-mannered husband and father Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal) driving at night through rural Texas with his wife & daughter when they are driven off the road by an unruly gang, who kidnap Tony's wife and daughter and leave him for dead.

In the morning, it is discovered that Tony's wife and child have been raped and murdered, and a cancer-suffering sheriff takes on the case to bring those guilty to justice.

While Susan reads Edward's novel, she begins to reminisce on their relationship and how they were forced apart by her hard-to-please mother, who had doubts in his writing potential.

The novel takes a dark turn when the case against the guilty men gets thrown out of court and Tony and the sheriff decide to take the law into their own hands.

The multiple strands do become a little complicated to follow around the midway point, where fiction and reality do become a little blurred, but if you pay close attention, it's a very clever piece of work, with ambiguous endings to both stories which will leave you mulling over them as the end credits roll.

It's unfortunate that the film didn't get more attention during its cinema run, as it is amongst the best films of 2016. The Oscars failed to recognise it aside from a deserved nod for Best Supporting Actor (Michael Shannon), although the BAFTA's were a lot more generous, recognising it in 9 categories.


Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals
Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals