Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocturnal-animals-2016-movie-poster(I’m on vacation right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

I don’t remember ever going into the cinema as blind as I did last week for Nocturnal Animals. I’d heard a lot of buzz surrounding the name, I’d watched the trailer (once) which didn’t give much away at all, and I knew Jake Gyllenhaal was in it. That was enough for me, and I somehow convinced my husband to come along too. I don’t know how I did it, but I have a feeling it may have been something to do with the ever beautiful Amy Adams.

Before I go into an actual review, I have to share a funny moment with you. Tuesday and Wednesday showings have a silly amount of adverts before the movie, because of the wildly popular ‘Meerkat Movies’ 2-4-1 deal. This poor couple in front of us were already there when we arrived, sat through the whole slog of ads, the 5 trailers (although we were shown the Arrival trailer twice in a row, odd) and when the BBFC rating screen came on with ‘Nocturnal Animals’ emblazoned on the left-hand side, they realised they were in the wrong screen. I hope they didn’t miss too much of Doctor Strange, because that opening scene was awesome.

Anyway! Nocturnal Animals is a dark movie split into two narratives. First, we have Susan (Amy Adams), an art gallery owner living a seemingly-perfect life in her mansion of a house adorned with staff, and a husband who sadly, is hardly ever at home. One morning she receives a parcel from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), a manuscript for a book he’s written that he wants her thoughts on. The book turns out to be dedicated to Susan, but is a dark and twisted story, which haunts her.

Whenever Susan starts reading the book, we get to see it played out, by Jake Gyllenhaal himself and his book-wife (Isla Fisher). Their story isn’t for the faint-hearted, it’s a cruel and violent tale. Some scenes are particularly difficult to watch, and I get the feeling they were deliberately made as long as possible to make the audience uncomfortable. If that is the case, it definitely worked on me. I kept thinking to myself ‘Oh that won’t actually happen though, they wouldn’t show us that’ and then they did! I’m getting the shivers just thinking about it.

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So, whilst we see Edward’s story played out in snippets, we also go back to Susan often to learn more about her, and more importantly, what happened all those years ago between her and Edward. There’s a theme of revenge here for sure, and we know that Susan left him, but not why, or under what circumstances. It’s really well edited in these sections, the way something happens in the book that then takes us back to real life, and editing isn’t something that I normally take notice of.

Of course, I won’t give anything away, but I love an ambiguous ending. One that’s satisfying enough when taken at face value, but when you start to analyse every little detail, you begin to come up with different theories about certain elements.

I really loved this movie, but I will NOT forgive that jump scare. You can witness it for yourself, I’m not going to warn you, but it scared the crap out of the entire screen. Then I had to watch the next ten minutes from the corner of my eye in case something else happens. My poor nervous wreck of a husband now labels Nocturnal Animals as ‘that piece of sh*t movie that scared me’. He liked it of course, but he’s a bigger scaredy-cat than me!

So yes, a big seal of approval from me. Just…skip the opening credits if you can…trust me.

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Review: Sully (2016)

sully-movie-review-2016Everyone loves a bit of Tom Hanks, he’s like the parfait of actors! I feel like I’ve neglected him a little lately though. Even though I tried, I just couldn’t get into Bridge of Spies last year, and I haven’t seen Inferno yet, either. I’ll catch up on the latter, promise. The trailer for Sully seems to have been everywhere in the run up to it’s release in the UK, and that clip on the plane where that lady sends what she must be thinking is her last text message makes me well up every time I see it. I don’t think my eyes have ever threatened to cry at a trailer before!

Sully (2016) is the movie retelling of the events that happened in New York on 15th January 2009 when he landed US Airways flight 1549 onto (into?) the Hudson River, after both engines failed from a bird strike shortly after take off. Captain Phillips Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) was hailed a hero after the landing when it was confirmed that all 155 passengers and crew survived, but an investigation was started to find out whether Sully could have actually turned back, or landed at a nearby airport.

I’ll admit that even though I recall this event taking place, I didn’t know any of the details, which in all honesty, makes a movie like this all the more compelling to watch. I just can’t even imagine how it must have felt to be Sully in that moment when the birds struck the engines. A few years ago when driving my car home, my brakes failed and I freaked the hell out, how on earth does someone stay so calm when both engines fail whilst flying over New York city?! It’s chilling stuff, I tell you.

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As horrifying as the actual events on the plane were, it almost pales in comparison to the actions of the board in charge of the investigation. Never have a group of people in a movie made me so angry. I understand why these investigations take place, but there needs to be some human decency involved. Maybe these scenes were dramatised slightly, but they treated Sully and his co-Pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) like criminals.

The scenes involving the plane’s emergency landing were so well done. It makes me wish that I’d gone to see it in IMAX. Mixed in with my feelings of rage were also soft warm feelings at the kindness of everyone involved in rescuing those 155 people. I don’t remember the exact count but it was literally a matter of minutes, rather than hours, to get everyone on dry land. I got quite teary on more than one occasion.

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What I found most spectacular was during the end credits when photos were shown of actual incident back in 2009. When I say that it was a perfect re-enactment, I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. It’s uncanny!

So it’s thumbs up all round from me, but an extra thumb for Tom Hanks, who is an acting chameleon in more than one way. Here he is as Sully, next to the actual Sully, and here he also is, doing his best impression of Bill Murray. Just kidding, that’s actually Bill Murray himself, but this is my favourite celebrity photo of 2016!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, Sully gets 4 planes out of 5 from me.

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