Netflix has given a lot of titles more exposure in the last few years, with many overlooked movies receiving attention on the platform. This trend is set to include the underrated 2016 Jake Gyllenhaal film Nocturnal Animals, which deals with the tangled relationships between an art gallery owner and a novel by her former husband Edward. Directed by Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals was well-received on its release, but deserves a rewatch, or seeing for the first time.
Adapted from Austin Wright’s 1993 novel Tony and Susan, Nocturnal Animals frequently blurs the lines between reality and the seeming-fiction of the novel, within which Amy Adams’ Susan Morrow begins to see parallels with her first marriage. Gyllenhaal plays both Edward and Tony, the lead character in the book, who goes through a traumatic series of events involving his family. Other cast members include the likes of Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, and Michael Shannon.
At the time, critics were won over by Ford’s direction and the performances, and Nocturnal Animals collected a number of awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. The picture was only Ford’s second following the similarly well-received A Single Man in 2009, and he’s probably still best known as a fashion designer. For Gyllenhaal, his challenging role came at a time when the actor was taking on some of his most-praised parts, including in Nightcrawler and Southpaw.
I saw Nocturnal Animals the day after Trump won the 2016 election, and it seemed fitting then to be watching an American story that deals with often brutal violence and masculinity. Still, it’s a recommended watch, and one that was one of our best of the year in 2016. Nocturnal Animals will be available to stream on Netflix from December 16th, and while it may not be the most festive of experiences, we’d suggest making the time for it if you like solid adult drama.