NO ESCAPE (18)
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (18)
D: Tom Ford
Focus Features/Fade To Black (Tom Ford & Robert Salerno)
W: Tom Ford [based on the novel "Tony & Susan" by Austin Wright]
DP: Seamus McGarvey
Ed: Joan Sobel
Mus: Abel Korzeniowski
PD: Tony Valentino
Amy Adams (Susan Morrow), Jake Gyllenhaal (Edward Sheffield / Tony Hastings), Michael Shannon (Bobby Andes), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ray Marcus), Armie Hammer (Hutton Morrow), Laura Linney (Anne Sutton), Isla Fisher (Laura Hastings)
Nocturnal Animals is a multi-layered thriller clearly modelled on the neo-noir style of David Lynch, which adopts a non-linear thread for its multiple storylines and is most certainly not for those with short attention spans.
Based on the novel 'Tony & Susan' by Austin Wright, the plot opens with art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) aggrieved with her neglectful husband when she receives an unpublished manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield, a man who she left 20 years earlier.
As she begins to read the novel, titled Nocturnal Animals, the film within the film unfolds, with mild-mannered husband and father Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal) driving at night through rural Texas with his wife & daughter when they are driven off the road by an unruly gang, who kidnap Tony's wife and daughter and leave him for dead.
In the morning, it is discovered that Tony's wife and child have been raped and murdered, and a cancer-suffering sheriff takes on the case to bring those guilty to justice.
While Susan reads Edward's novel, she begins to reminisce on their relationship and how they were forced apart by her hard-to-please mother, who had doubts in his writing potential.
The novel takes a dark turn when the case against the guilty men gets thrown out of court and Tony and the sheriff decide to take the law into their own hands.
The multiple strands do become a little complicated to follow around the midway point, where fiction and reality do become a little blurred, but if you pay close attention, it's a very clever piece of work, with ambiguous endings to both stories which will leave you mulling over them as the end credits roll.
It's unfortunate that the film didn't get more attention during its cinema run, as it is amongst the best films of 2016. The Oscars failed to recognise it aside from a deserved nod for Best Supporting Actor (Michael Shannon), although the BAFTA's were a lot more generous, recognising it in 9 categories.
THE NUN (15)
D: Corin Hardy
Warner Bros/New Line/Atomic Monster (Peter Safran & James Wan)
W: Gary Dauberman & James Wan
DP: Maxime Alexander
Ed: Michel Aller & Ken Blackwell
Mus: Abel Korzeniowski
Demián Bichir (Father Burke), Taissa Farmiga (Sister Irene), Jonas Bloquet (Maurice 'Frenchie' Theriault), Bonnie Arens (Valak/The Nun)
The Nun is a mess of a horror movie which seemingly ties into The Conjuring series of films (which I had not even seen at the time of review).
Set in the early 1950's, a nun seemingly commits suicide at a desolate, creepy monastery in Romania and is subsequently investigated by Father Burke and his companion Sister Irene, still in her noviciate, are also accompanied by Frenchie, an irritating French-Canadian with a confusing accent.
Unholy goings-on around the Romanian convent can only mean one thing... the building is possessed by evil, explained with endless exposition scenes which lead up to a messy conclusion which is so poorly directed, it's almost impossible to tell what's going on.
The first act of film is quite atmospherically done, but it doesn't take long for the film to resort to jump scares to the point that the film merely becomes three or four quiet moments punctuated by the sudden and abrupt appearance of a heretic nun who looks like Marilyn Manson. Taissa Farmiga is fine in the lead, but the other performances are far from convincing and the attempts at comedy in the script fall very flat.
Perhaps the film should have been called The Nunjuring, so I would have done appropriate homework prior to watching.