Movie Review: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

I honestly don’t know what the fuck to start with. Usually when reviewing a movie I can come up with some clever(ish) intro that somehow relates back to the movie. But in this case it’s fucking impossible. So let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Nocturnal Animals”.

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is a wealthy art gallery owner living in New York City. And one day she gets package form her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) containing a novel that he’s written. So Susan of course starts reading it and becomes obsessed with this dark and twisted story. We also get to follow along as the story in the novel gets visualized for us. So now we have our dark, weird, and complex story. And yeah, those are really my thoughts: It’s dark, weird, and complex. Because it’s not just about a really beautiful woman reading a book, because there are plenty of metaphors that get drawn between the story that Susan’s reading, and her own life. We also get a look into her past and then that stuff somehow relates back to the book and Jesus fucking Christ, this movie has more layers than a “Scooby-Doo” sandwich. But I don’t fault it for that because I appreciated the complexity of it all, and I thought about it and I never felt lost. So we have a complex and layered story that is also tense, eerie, fascinating, and at one point heart-wrenching. So yeah… it’s pretty damn good.

The characters in this are like the story… complex and layered. Amy Adams is fantastic as Susan Morrow. A lot of times she doesn’t even need to say anything to show how good her performance is, as a lot of it is portrayed through her eyes and her mannerisms. There are so many subtleties to her performance that help make it as great as it is. Jake Gyllenhaal puts on a bit of a double role in the movie as he plays both Susan’s ex-husband, Edward, and the novel’s main character, Tony. And he is fantastic in this, with one of the roles having him give an intense and emotionally charged performance, and the other one just being generally great. Michael Shannon plays Booby Andes, a cop within the novel that Susan’s reading. And he’s basically just a tough guy who doesn’t give a shit and he’s just a blast to watch… yeah, he’s awesome. Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays a guy named Ray Marcus, an asshole who was kind of creepy and really unpleasant, and he really got under my skin. So kudos to Aaron Taylor-Johnson… great job. Really, this movie is filled to the brim with great performances/actors, so I won’t go on for too long about each and every one because we’d be here all fucking week. But to be somewhat fair, here are some of them listed: Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Karl Glusman, Laura Linney, Michael Sheen, and Andrea Riseborough.

The score for the movie was composed by Abel Korzeniowski and I do have to say that it was fucking amazing. As could be expected from Korzeniowski (at least if you watch “Penny Dreadful”, like I do), his music is heavily based in string instruments, which helps to create an eerie, dramatic, and emotional sound that complements the movie perfectly. Out of all the original scores of movies that came out last year, this might be my personal favorite.

This movie was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, and he did a great job here. His directing is very tight and suspenseful. And his direction combined with Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography makes this one of the most visually arresting movies of the last few years. There were a whole bunch of shots in this movie that actually made me go “Woaw”, and that isn’t very common for me. I do also have to mention that there are a few disturbing visuals throughout this movie too, so don’t expect this to be just pretty people captured in pretty cinematography, because there’s some fucked up and weird stuff here… so don’t bring grandma.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in teh category of Best supporting actor (Shannon). 

“Nocturnal Animals” is a movie that I thought was pretty fucking great, but that I am aware have and will divide audiences. It has a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Nocturnal Animals” is a 9,89/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Nocturnal Animals” is now completed.

Now that I think about it, this movie could almost have been called “Behind Blue Eyes”. Because most of the main actors have blue eyes and are troubled in some way…

Movie Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Remakes and reboots. Attempting to make such a thing of a beloved movie/show is qutie a gambit. Often they are hated by people because people don’t like things changing. Reboots and remakes will happen, we have to accept that. That said, you can still silently curse the people making them.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”!

Welcome to the 1960s. American CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Soviet KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) are forced to team up to stop a mysterious and villainous organization from proliferating nuclear weapons. So now we have our cold war spy plot. The idea in itself works fine, problem is that this plot in itself is executed pretty mediocrely. I was never really invested in the plot. Look, I don’t need a spy-action movie to have a deep and symbolic plot, but if it aims to have a plot, then maybe try to make it engaging on some level. And I never felt fully engaged here. Overall it is an entertaining and well paced journey that I would just call… fine.

What this movie lacks in plot, it makes up for in characters. The characters in this movie are pretty interesting and really entertaining. Napoleon Solo as a character is supposed to be this lovable rogue with a snarky attitude and tons of charm, and Henry Cavill portrays these things very well. Basically he’s James Bond if James Bond was American and more likable. Illya Kuryakin is the more serious of the two, he’s a big dude with a twitch and a fairly serious attitude. And while his accent can be a little on and off at times, I think Armie Hammer overall worked really well in the role. I also have to mention that these two main guys work very well together, they got great chemistry. Alicia Vikander plays a woman that our two heroes work with to find and stop the bad guys, and she was really good in the role. Elizabeth Debicki plays the villain of the movie and she’s good in the role. Yeah, this movie is filled with good/entertaining performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Daniel Pemberton and it was quite good. It was energetic, fun, exciting, and just overall worked very well for the movie. It even includes the classic “Guy Ritchie movie flute” as I call it. I first heard it making a very notable appearance in the score/soundtrack from “Snatch”. And it made a very triumphant return in this movie. Not complaining, just thought it would be worth pointing out. Ritchie seems to love his crazy flute.

As you probably understood from the previous paragraph, this movie was directed by Guy Ritchie, and I think he did a good job here. Like with most of his movies, he brings a lot of energy which makes scenes a lot more fun and interesting to watch. And the action scenes in this movie, they’re good. Not great, but definitely entertaining. There’s of course also a good amount of humor in this movie, and I thought it was funny… for the most part. There was one or two jokes that didn’t really entertain me here, but for the most part I thought the comedy in this movie was funny.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is a really fun spy-action-comedy movie. It has an okay plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, really good directing, and good comedy. The only thing that brings it down was the plot not being that great. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is an 8,88/10. While flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is now completed.

This was fun.