The Creepy Jake Gyllenhaal Thriller On Netflix That Will Keep You Guessing

By Steven Nelson | Published

jake gyllenhaal

Dive into the darkly fascinating world of Nocturnal Animals, where Jake Gyllenhaal showcases his unparalleled acting chops in this hauntingly evocative film. Streaming on Netflix, this Tom Ford-directed masterpiece is an intricate blend of drama, suspense, and psychological thriller. 

As both a visual treat and an emotional rollercoaster, Nocturnal Animals presents Jake Gyllenhaal in dual roles, pulling the viewer deep into a story that blurs the lines between fiction and reality. For those who appreciate nuanced performances and a gripping narrative, this film promises an intense cinematic journey.

Nocturnal Animals stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams and is taut crime thriller

Nocturnal Animals is a cinematic tapestry that weaves together not one, but two haunting tales in tandem. At the film’s core is Susan Morrow, portrayed by the mesmerizing Amy Adams. She’s an affluent art gallery owner in Los Angeles who finds herself at a personal and professional crossroads. 

Feeling discontented and alienated in her glittering world, she receives a manuscript of a novel penned by her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The novel, bearing the same name as the film, plunges Susan into its harrowing narrative, serving as a symbolic tale of revenge.

jake gyllenhaal

As Susan delves into the pages, we as the audience are transported to the bleak landscape of the novel. This fictional story within the film sees Jake Gyllenhaal in a dual role, both as Edward and as Tony Hastings, the novel’s main character.

Tony is a mild-mannered man who, during a road trip with his wife (Isla Fisher) and teenage daughter, encounters a trio of troublemakers led by the eerily intimidating Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). This chance meeting spirals into a nightmarish chain of events, leading Tony to seek the help of a determined detective, Bobby Andes (played by a gruff and relentless Michael Shannon).

The film masterfully transitions between Susan’s luxurious yet cold real world and the gritty, tense world of the novel. The more engrossed Susan becomes in the story, the more we start to understand the personal demons and the history she shares with Edward.

Their past, filled with passion, regret, and betrayal, unravels alongside the novel’s events, drawing parallels and offering poignant reflections on love, vengeance, and the choices we make. 

Tom Ford, renowned in the fashion world, showcases his directorial prowess by painting each frame with meticulous detail, ensuring that both narratives are seamlessly intertwined and each timeline is given its due weight.

By juxtaposing the desolate Texan roads of the novel with the pristine halls of LA’s elite, the film delves deep into themes of duality, redemption, and the often blurred lines between our past and present. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling and the lingering impact of decisions made long ago.

Nocturnal Animals, led by Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by fashion mogul turned filmmaker Tom Ford, certainly didn’t escape the discerning eyes of critics, and it was mostly met with praise.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams both earned high critical marks for their roles in Nocturnal Animals

Garnering a 74% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was lauded for its stunning visual aesthetic, intricate storytelling, and powerful performances. Jake Gyllenhaal’s dual role was often highlighted, showcasing his ability to inhabit and distinctly portray both Edward Sheffield and Tony Hastings.

Critics especially appreciated Ford’s ability to deftly balance the film’s starkly contrasting worlds: the cold, opulent art scene of Los Angeles and the gritty, raw landscapes of the novel’s Texas setting. The screenplay’s non-linear narrative, while admittedly complex, was seen as a bold choice that added layers of depth to the story.

However, it wasn’t without its detractors. Some found the film’s deliberate pacing a tad slow, and the intertwining narratives occasionally hard to follow. A few also thought the film veered into style over substance territory. But even amongst the criticisms, many couldn’t deny the film’s sheer atmospheric presence and the lingering impact of its haunting themes.

Despite the mixed bag of reviews, the movie saw various nominations during the awards season, affirming that while divisive in some aspects, Nocturnal Animals was a piece of art that demanded attention.

Nocturnal Animals stands as a testament to Tom Ford’s unique vision and Jake Gyllenhaal’s unwavering commitment to complex characters. The film is a dazzling and often disturbing journey through a labyrinth of emotions, relationships, and narratives. Jake Gyllenhaal’s dual performance, balanced between vulnerability and intensity, serves as the movie’s beating heart.

While it may be a challenging watch for some, its intricate layers and powerful storytelling are worth the deep dive. For those willing to immerse themselves in its darkly poetic world, streaming it on Netflix is a must. After all, any movie with Jake Gyllenhaal delving into such a multifaceted role is bound to leave a lasting impression.