Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals Art Gallery Naked

Directed by: Tom Ford

Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey

Starring: Amy AdamsJake GyllenhaalMichael ShannonAaron Taylor-Johnson

Runtime: 1h 56m

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Rating: ♣♣♣♣♣

 

Life and love are crafted through choices and sacrifices.  Tom Ford’s adaptation of Susan and Tony, by Austin Wright, clearly shows how choice and sacrifice have an unequivocal role in determining one’s path in life.  Merriam-Webster defines sacrifice as “an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially :  the killing of a victim on an altar.” The choice and sacrifice made on the part of Susan Morrow, played by Amy Adams, meets these criteria and dictates both her life and that of Edward Sheffield, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

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Get Out (2017)

Get out

Directed by: Jordan Peele

Cinematography: Toby Oliver

Starring: Daniel KaluuyaAllison WilliamsCatherine KeenerBradley WhitfordCaleb Landry Jones, and LilRel Howery

Runtime: 1h 44m

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: ♣♣♣♣

In an attempt to not spoil this movie I have my review in two sections.  The top section is more of a general response to the film and below that is a section where I dig into more specifics about the film that I want to unwind.  So do not read the whole thing if you want to avoid spoilers.

Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a psychological thriller that keeps you on your toes and unsure of where the characters stand the whole way through.  The story follows Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, and his girlfriend Rose, played by Allison Williams, as they visit her family in upstate New York.  No more information is needed.  Peele succeeds in taking the viewer on a comedic, thrilling, and satisfying ride.

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Cat People (1942)

Directed by: Jacques Tourneur

Cinematography: Nicholas Musuraca

Starring: Simone SimonKent SmithTom ConwayJane Randolph

Runtime: 1h 13m

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Rating: ♣♣♣♣

 

With love and passion comes sin and strife, this is the theme throughout Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People.  Is the curse of the cat people a figment of their imagination, are they alive and well, or is there a panther on the loose?  Cat People tells the story of Irene and Oliver as they fall in love and reconcile the difficulties of marriage. Continue reading “Cat People (1942)”

Black Swan (2010)

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Cinematography: Matthew Libatique

Starring: Natalie PortmanMila KunisVincent CasselBarbara HersheyWinona Ryder

Runtime: 1h 48m

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Psychological

Rating: ♣♣♣♣♣

 

Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is a fresh interpretation of the 19th century ballet, Swan Lake.  The film follows Nina, played by Natalie Portman, as she trains for the part of the white/black swan.  A role that requires her to metamorphose from her pure and immaculate persona into an untamed embodiment of raw sexuality. Nina’s agonizing drive for perfection takes her on an odyssey into madness.  Aronofsky’s creative style and vision emphasizes the psychosis in this psychological thriller. Continue reading “Black Swan (2010)”

Girl on the Train, The (2016)

Directed by: Tate Taylor

Cinematography: Charlotte Bruus Christensen

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux

Runtime: 1h 52m

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: ♣♣♣

I am a big fan of mysteries and thrillers.  Throw in a little mental illness and psychological drama and I’m hooked.  The aspect of this film that I liked the most was the slow development of Rachel’s story, played by Emily Blunt.  The speed of this film has been one of the most disliked aspects, but without it there would be no story.  The disjointed nature of the film keeps the viewer guessing, although I will admit it grasps unnecessarily at plot points.  The arc of the film and the mystery itself is not especially earth shattering or novel.  It is Rachel’s story outside of the murder mystery that I find most engaging.  It is easy to paint her as a victim, but this is only half of her position in the film.  The root of issues are the absence of a support system and self-confidence.  She was unable to pull herself out of the bottle long enough to breath let alone deal with her problems.  Rachel’s actions in regards to the mystery are a way for her to feel useful and to prove that she is capable of companionship again.  Unfortunately, the way she conducts herself is irrational and hard to support as a viewer.  The truth behind her alcoholism does not make me feel empathy for her.  Instead I feel empathy for the fact that she lacks the ability to take real ownership of her problem and pull herself out of it.  It is without question that Blunt carried this film in her honest performance of a visceral drunk.  If the rest of the characters had as much development as Rachel instead of frivolous plot points then there may have been more acclaim for this film.