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Top 25 of 2016: 10) Nocturnal Animals


“Nocturnal Animals” is my kind of revenge tale. Equal parts meta-fiction and F*** you letter to an ex-wife, director Tom Ford creates the best looking film of 2016. Some early reviewers have taken issue with Ford has switched from the longing of “A Single Man” to the bitterness of “Nocturnal Animals”. I feel the focus on the sharp edge of the film undermines what it wants to achieve. “Nocturnal Animals” is one of 2016’s great films about failure. In a year when lofty goals and dreams came crashing back to Earth, this film was the mirror we needed.

Jake Gyllenhaal works wonders in a role that requires anger with patience. Amy Adams continues her banner year, as his ex-wife that wonders if she left her previous relationship too early. Current husband Armie Hammer is cold and feels like he might better off without her. Inside of Gyllenhaal’s stellar manuscript, we find a fictional world that serves as a loose metaphor for his marriage to Adams. Did I forget to mention that half of the movie takes place inside of Gyllenhaal’s novel? Well, I hope that you can hang with that.

As the film progresses, we see the fictional and real worlds slowly merge into each other. All the while, Amy Adams is having her mind blown like a Paul Feig gender swapped Bastian Bux. Gyllenhaal’s character in the film and in the book realizes that he lost everything by not being decisive. So, this will be his final act of revenge. Weaponizing his failure and loss as a way of getting rid of his ex-wife for good. For a film that only portrayed a fiction within a fiction look at the American Southwest, it did a far better job than the incredibly lackluster “Hell or High Water”.


  • 1 hr and 56 mins
  • R
  • Universal/Focus


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