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Nocturnal Animals Review (2016) | Full Analysis and Ending Explained

Speechless! Nocturnal Animals would render you dumbstruck. It is an outstanding avant-garde flick that is more art than cinema. Yes, there is art laid out in the form of poetry and if you pay attention you would appreciate the stories they tell. The movie ends in a way so as to leave you speculating. It’s beautifully done and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Seems like a very straightforward tale but really, there is something deep going on there.

So what is it? Without wasting any more time let’s begin, shall we?

Nocturnal Animals Plot Analysis (Spoilers Ahead)

The movie starts with a quite unusual scene which you don’t normally find many directors attempting these days. There are fat naked ladies celebrating. Their flab’s dancing all around their body along with them. They seemed to have shed our very idea of shame in things we consider shameful, and they are simply enjoying it. They are happy with their body even though it’s a contrasting image of what our society has imagined for us. Their idea of happy is breaking all the rules that we have learned to live with. Some of them are leering at you. Again something we consider impolite.

Explaining The Opening Scene

Then we see an image of a bustling highway in Nocturnal Animals, implying the urban life, trying to connect the dots about how we choose to embrace that idea as time flies. Life goes on, nay, it trundles down different lanes choosing one path or the other. One of the roads shows a suburban lane where the traffic movement is really slow. It insinuates that at one point our life too will become stodgy like that slow moving traffic, and then (cars have now stopped) eventually stop.

Immediately after we see those naked overweight ladies playing dead. It symbolizes that’s how we go. Naked to the core. One of the lady’s wand is no longer in her hands, and she’s turned away from it. It symbolizes that the thing that gave her joy in her life has left her now that she is dead. It’s no longer with her. That’s how life is. You don’t get to take the good things with you when you die. And when you die all the good things that surround you leave you to depart alone.

The second lady is seen lying face down on one of the pedestals. It means she can’t even see into our world, or does she even want to? Or is it the shame that has her looking downwards. It’s the variety of life we are. Some go proudly into the soil, some choose to bury their secrets along with them. But none of those people get to take what they love. Their reason for happiness stays above the soil. Even the clothes stay. You go down naked leaving every material thing in this world behind.

still from Nocturnal Animals of Amy Adams junk culture

Susan Morrow

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is a crucial character in Nocturnal Animals. She is the exact opposite of the art she has launched and overseeing. She is the paragon of beauty, wears modish clothes and poses a contrasting image to those fat ladies. We hear an off-screen noise of her taking deep breaths as she connects with the reality of “you die naked, you should live naked”. She is living a lavish life, our idea of gaudy livelihood and yet there is a certain sadness in her eyes. She is slowly coming back to her senses, to her world, as she begins to breathe normally, and just then we are shown a moving traffic once again.

Her life hasn’t become a slow moving traffic yet. She is still young.

Susan drives to her home. Her gates are so garish and shiny that her car lights reflect off it causing her discomfort. We are so madly running after lurid things in our life that we choose to live with all the discomfiture it tags along. That one scene speaks a thousand words if you really think about it. Just as she drives in, the door automatically closes. Immediately, after someone arrives to a closed door in a different car. Whoever it was we could learn about the distance Susan has grown with him, as if her life had closed a door on him.

We are then depicted an ostentatious living, a neighborhood that is just buildings and trees that are lined up against the roads in a symmetrical fashion. A tacky display – they have lost their meaning in life.

Life of Susan

Susan and her hubby have recently moved in and she has received a package from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has finished a novel and wishes Susan to read it first. He has also given his number and email id for her to contact him. Her hubby Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer) pretends to not remember Edward as she fills him on about his novel. When Hutton says if she has even talked to Edward in like 20 years, she corrects him saying 19. You could sense that Edward was one of the most important parts of her life, and that she missed him profusely.

Then we feel the strained relationship of the Morrows as they talk about how Hutton misses out on everything and that he has to once again head out to New York.

One of the most interesting conversations happen when Susan sadly reflects:

Susan: You know the strange thing is is, I don’t really care about all this art.
Hutton: I care. It pisses me off.

Susan realizes how Hutton simply wishes to show off and that’s why he cares about it, and not that he tries to even understand it. He is too shallow to fathom.

Strained Relationship

In a tete-a-tete with a friend, she confides that the relationship is indeed strained.

I think we just want different things, or I want different things.

On being asked if she still loves him, the topic gets changed. Carlos (Michael Sheen) delivers one of the most insightful thoughts on Susan when they are having dinner. Carlos lets her know that her work about junk culture was incredible. She truly believes our culture to be complete junk.

Carlos: Nobody really likes what they do.
Susan: Then why do we do it.
Carlos: Because we are driven. Maybe a bit insecure. We get into things when we are young and because we think they mean something.
Susan: And then we find out that they don’t.

Carlos advises her to accept the absurdity of the world, and that they are in a much better state than the real world, and that they should be grateful for that.

Reading the Book Nocturnal Animals

We are shown her being on her meds, as she has been having trouble sleeping lately. Her hand lingers, her thoughts pucker up when she finds “For Susan” written on the second page of Nocturnal Animals. She feels happy that Edward has written something for her, and dedicated an entire book to her.

That’s when the book’s story begins. It’s a wonderful way of depicting a parallel tale whenever Susan digs her head to read.

The story places the author in the shoes of Tony Hastings. Isla Fisher plays his wife Laura Hastings. Ellie Bamber is their daughter and all three of them are making a trip to Marfa. The way to Marfa is deserted. It goes dark quickly.

No phones. No people.

As they are driving through the night, a bunch of hooligans intersect them and ask them to pull over. It is a shocking run of events and even if you were there driving that car instead of Tony, you would have no other option but to stop.

Meanwhile, we see Susan in a trauma trying to go in complete sync with the happenings of the book. She is empathizing with the characters and feeling every bit of trepidation that the family felt.

The Unfortunate Event

Tony is trying to make the most of the situation. Trying his level best to get out of it. He is a decent guy and you could tell by the way he talks with hooligan no. 1 Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) that he is simply trying to protect his family. But things go south soon with Ray and his other two friends forcing themselves into his car and driving away with Laura and India. It is so heartbreaking to see, having no control over the situation, and being completely incapacitated to help his family.

You could feel your heart shattering into pieces with that look Tony gives as all the noise numbs out, as if that’s the last of their voices he is going to hear of them again.

Susan can’t read further because it has drained her out, as it manages to drain any viewer out. You can’t feel sorry enough. It is one of those moments of a good book that forces you to take a pit stop and think about what the author has written. There is just too much pain. It makes her think about her husband’s safety. She calls Hutton to confirm if he has reached safely. That’s also where she gets a strong inkling of him cheating on her.

She continues to read Nocturnal Animals book to find out what happens next.

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Lou (Karl Glusman) the third offender sits with Tony as he drives to follow them. But Lou fools him into believing that they are at the end of the road. Then he dumps him there taking the car back. After a while, Lou returns with a pissed off Ray trying to find Tony. Tony hides behind some rocks unwilling to come out, out of fear. They drive away.

The Mental Trauma

The dawn breaks and Tony is seen walking his way to the road where he had last seen a house. He makes a call from there to the police and they suggest him to retire to a motel nearby.

There is a beautiful contrast that goes on as Tony gets into the bathtub. Susan outside the book too goes into one, feeling the exact pain Tony underwent unable to put a pin on his wife and kid, constantly wondering about their safety. And preparing himself for what might have happened to them. Insane unthinkable thoughts visit him and you know you are feeling the same as a mute viewer. He cries incessantly as the director chooses to subtly display it through water droplets trickling down on a mirror with him in its reflection.

still of Jake Gyllenhaal as Tony from Nocturnal Animals movie

Bobby Andes

In comes Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) in the Nocturnal Animals book. He comes to pick up Tony from the motel to help find his family at the location of the crime. They trace back his steps to a cattle station where he finds two naked bodies intertwined on a red burnt-out sofa. It is like a work of art only the most poignant ever because it reeks of death. As Andes helps him identify the bodies, Tony can only manage:

Is she alright?

There’s a locket on India’s face which we will see Tony carrying around for the later part of the book as a mark to remember them by.

Susan is taken aback when she finds his family’s plight like that. She is worried sick immediately about her own daughter Samantha (India Menuez). Her real name a coincidence? I don’t think so. Tom Ford chooses to put the same naked image of her intertwined with a shade of red aginst her boyfriend to get us thinking of how Susan is imaging her in that moment.

The Flashback with Edward

She begins to think of her time with Edward, about how they had met after a long time and decided to go on a date. They get to talking about her parents who were really old-fashioned in their ways and it pissed her off.

They have an antiquated idea of how I should live my life.

Edward, the sweet guy he is, tries to remember her mother for her. He recollects her being nice to him when his father had died even though Susan debunks that very idea. She doesn’t want to be compared with her mother.

You both have the same kind of sadness in your eyes.

He says all the right things, inspires her to follow her dream making falling in love with him really easy.

After a while we see a conversation being followed up between Susan and her mother. Susan is wanting to get married to Edward and move to Texas with him, but her mother is strongly against that idea.

The things you love about him now are the things you will hate in a few years.

She calls Edward fragile and weak pointing one low moment in his life when his father had died. The contrast there, of how Edward looked highly of her mother because she was there when he needed someone the most, and the way Susan’s mother writing him off for being a crybaby is just too much for Susan to handle.

Even though she doesn’t want to be compared to her mother this is one powerful line she drops on Susan:

We all eventually turn into our mothers.

Identifying Lou

Going to the book again, Tony is having a hard time remembering the culprit’s face, but in one of his nightmares he makes him out. As time passes by, Andes manages to rope one in during an attempted hold-up at a supermarket. One of the felon is shot so we are left with two now.

Lou, the guy who had driven along with Tony to a secluded spot is identified at once, as Andes promises to bag the main culprit Ray.

Susan is empathizing immensely thinking about Edward all the time, of what he might have been contemplating, about all the pain he was forced to silently experience.

Susan: Why are you so driven to write.
Edward: I guess it’s a way of keeping things alive. You know, saving things that will eventually die. And if I write it down then it will last forever.

She confides to a co-worker about Edward saying how brutally she had ended her relationship with him. She tells her about his book as well that’s outright painful and violent. It is getting its toll on her.

You know me, I never sleep.

She questions her life’s decisions. Wondering about the thrill she sought leaving behind a crucial morsel that could have reshaped her life.

Do you ever feel like your life has turned into something you never intended?

The Office Art Work

Nocturnal Animals can’t be commended enough for its art. There is an art of a naked woman’s ass hung up at Susan’s office. Another smirk at shunning off the junk culture. She wishes to be that bold, fearless idea, wearing what others consider impolite like a framed art on the wall.

There’s an art of a deer lanced profusely with arrows too. It is a poignant sight because clearl, only one or two arrows might have done the job. But people kicking a dead dog is simply pathetic. It resonates beautifully with Edward. She considers Edward to be the guy she had kicked when he was down. I will come to that part of how.

still of Revenge art in nocturnal animals movie

Then she walks across an Art piece that says “REVENGE” in a symmetrical manner. All Es are placed in the center, as if saying every revenge has one thing in common – that modicum of satisfaction. It is portrayed in the form of E’s symmetry and the painting seems to bleed its colors. That’s the form in which every revenge ends. She stares at it blankly looking at the Es as if E meant Edward. How he badly wishes to avenge his family. And since she has been reading about that in the book, she could feel how badly Edward’s character Tony needs it.

A co-worker walks in with her phone telling her how she could babysit her own child using an app. On checking out the baby in the phone Susan accidentally drops it when she sees an image of Ray’s character she has unknowingly imagined from the book. It is clearly an accident depicting how the events of the book have taken a toll on her. But it also symbolizes how she was reckless with her own baby too, putting perspective in the word REVENGE.

About Change

She imagines Edward in pain still wearing their wedding ring. It is hard for her to brush that image off. She is thinking of what she did to him.

Susan is against letting a worker go, which she had earlier made up her mind to.

Sometimes maybe it’s not such a good idea to change things quite so much.

Even though it was a curt remark at one of the board members who she was trying to get at, it also means she accepts that it wasn’t right of her to leave Edward bringing in such a vast change in her life. Because it didn’t turn out as great as she had imagined.

There is another art of a man shooting another who seems happy to be shot at. There’s fire behind him that seems to be taking him anyway. And yet he is willingly letting the impending murder happen. It reflects so much with Edward who is willing to die because he feels dead all the time. He is a sad soul like every sad person out there who believes everything is lost. He is allowing life to take a shot at him and to pull that trigger. Also, he is burning from inside wishing a quick death.

Pinning Ray Marcus

Back in the story again, Andes locates Ray Marcus accompanying Tony who identifies him as the main culprit. They take him down to the trailer where he had raped and killed Tony’s wife and daughter. Tony loses it trying to get something out of him and hits him in the head.

I wanna know the exact story, what you did to them. I wanna know what they said. I wanna know what my wife said and I wanna know what my daughter said. I wanna know how you killed them. And I wanna know if they knew it was happening to them. I wanna know what they felt. I wanna know if they hurt. Answer me.

The Flashback of Downfall

Susan thinks of her time with Edward when things began to coil up in the corner. It was the moment they started having disagreements, and things kind of escalated. On being shown one of his works, Susan gives it a critical eye to which Edward says:

Nobody writes about anything but themselves.

And the dissent becomes huge. She fails to understand Edward’s creativity, at the same time wondering where is it going to lead him.

Do you know what it feels like to put yourself out on the line creatively and then have someone you love tell you that they don’t understand it?

That’s when Hutton swoops in. It was her desperate time and she ended up falling for him.

Edward and Susan’s final fight is when things begin to crumble. She walks away from him turning him down as Edward tries to put back some sense in her.

When you love someone you work it out. You don’t just throw it away. You have to be careful with it. You might never get it again.

Ray Walks Free

We get to see how good Andes is in the movie Nocturnal Animals, when he breaks it to Tony that he has cancer. He has been so much invested in bringing justice to Tony and his poor family that he has completely forgotten all about himself.

Do you have anyone in your life?

Andes takes a good time to think about the aforementioned question as he tries to remember that he doesn’t have anyone except an estranged daughter.

When they come to figure out about Ray’s clean walk, they are both desperate to provide some lynching justice of their own. Andes has got nothing to lose and they agree on pinning Ray for good.

They tag him to a pub from where they take both Ray and Lou to a secluded place at Andes’ camp. Things escalate as Ray manages to escape free as a bird while Lou gets shot.

The Abortion

At the exact moment, a bird crashes into the windowpane of Susan’s house. It is poetry for how a person thinks that there is a way ahead right through but ends up overseeing the adversity that knocks him out. Then it could also be a remark about the thing that happens next in her recollections where she had chosen to abort Edward’s child. The bird, here a probable daughter, thought she was going to see the world but Susan smacks her down. She is aborted even before she could fly.

still of Jake Gyllenhaal as Edward in Nocturnal Animals

She says those words out loud that forms the entire basis of the story of Nocturnal Animals.

I am gonna live to regret this. I regret it now.

Immediately after we see Edward staring at her drenched with knowledge about the abortion. That’s her regret that she has to live with, because it has pushed Edward into darkness. She is unable to find him for 19 long years, because he wouldn’t pick the phone or talk to her. Because she did something so despicable that ended up upending his life.

The Final Showstopper of Nocturnal Animals

Back in the book story, again after shooting Lou Tony breaks down remembering how helpless he had been. How helpless he had felt.

I should have stopped it. I should have protected them. I should have seen it coming. I should have stopped it.

As suggested by Edward once “Nobody writes about anything but themselves” you can understand that the helplessness was exactly how he felt when he let that abortion take place. He could have stopped it by abating disagreements, or walking in just in the nick of time, changing her mind to stop Susan from doing what she did. And all that frustration goes into the writing where he ended up being weak where it mattered the most. And he laments it profusely giving one of his best performances. Jake’s an amazing actor really!

Trying to find Ray they both split as Tony ends up barging into the exact place where Ray was. It was where he had murdered his family. A perfect setup to draw that vengeance sword in him.

still of Aaron Taylor Johnson as Ray Marcus in Nocturnal Animals

Ray tries to get through him pressing the nerve where it hurt him the most.

You are too weak. You are too weak to do anything about it.

That’s when he shoots Ray twice before being hit by a crowbar Ray was hiding.

That Weak Epithet

If you think about it that’s the exact thing that had ended their relationship. Susan had blamed Edward for being too weak. It was the high point of the Nocturnal Animals book since that’s how Edward used to feel about when someone called him weak. Because he was strong, and that’s why he decided to bring down the justice sword on him showing him what he was really made of.

The dawn breaks and Tony walks out one-eyed stumbling across the dead body of Ray. There is no one around and he shoots once in the sky to get attention, but the recoil is too hard on him and he falls down. Trying to crawl he ends up shooting himself. It is an accident as he slowly fades away holding on to his locket pointing out that justice to his family was finally delivered. While dying there is a slight content smile on his face as he accepts death without any regrets.

Back to the real world, now since the book story is now over, Susan is feeling her locket too. That locket looks the same as Tony was seen wearing. I guess it must have been Edward’s gift at some point to Susan to signify family or love.

The Ending of Nocturnal Animals Explained

She gets a message from Edward asking her to let him know the exact time and place and that he would be there. She then tries to remember all the warm moments she had spent with him. Susan wants that again. She is still not over him and she is hopeful for their meeting. Things are going pretty bad for her in the relationship department, and Edward was always that spark missing from her life.

Susan slithers into her best dress, removing her lipstick remembering Edward to be the one who adored her for who she was and not for the girl she pretended to be. Just like the art we saw about the obese dancing ladies, she wishes to be real and unbothered by that junk culture telling its stories on her lips.

She chooses to put away that ring, and spends hours looking in the mirror primping and preening herself so that Edward would like her even more and fall in love with her again. There’s that idea of a happily ever after in her mind that she is really looking forward to.

At the Restaurant

She reaches the promised spot in a fancy restaurant sits at her table, and keeps looking at the door waiting for Edward. She feels the absence of that ring on her finger and wonders about it. There are loud footsteps as if someone is approaching but it isn’t Edward.

That’s another turning point of Nocturnal Animals. Edward doesn’t show up.

She realizes in the end that she has been stood up. That it was Edward’s intention all along. Taking away that last straw of hope from her to see her suffer. He was never coming back. He just bound her in hopes with the book and everything layering up lies to get his REVENGE! She had aborted their child, an unforgivable crime in the eyes of Edward and he wanted to get back at her. It is a sweet revenge of building up immense hope for a future together and then crashing it with a snap of the finger. It is a fitting vengeance if you look at it. Edward shows that he is not weak by taking such a bold step. And the curtain falls.

The Final Verdict

The director of Nocturnal Animals, Tony Ford does a fabulous job, turning a violent tale of vengeance into something more. It isn’t just the book that is the intended story, but the actual life of Susan that ends up becoming one. The way it ends leaves you with thousands of questions. You can’t stop thinking about the end of both the stories. Both the stories end up showing that Edward and Tony are not weak. They get their revenge one way or the other.

I can’t stop thinking about Nocturnal Animals either. Watching it made me profoundly sad. Rewatching it just tells me how intelligently it has been crafted. Yes, it makes me sad again. There are tons of moments in it that tears you apart from the inside. It is beautifully helmed.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams take Nocturnal Animals to a whole new level. It is hard not to feel or cry when they do. You can’t oversee Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s extraordinary performance as Ray Marcus as well. He is such an amazing actor. He becomes a wicked character so bad that it’s hard to recognize him through that mask of accent he puts on.

Tom Ford gets into your head like a director who is really serious about movies. His way of looking at art and choosing to bind the flick through it is absolutely ravishing. By far one of the greatest directors I have had the good hap of encountering.

Nocturnal Animals is a worth watch. It is timeless so if you haven’t watched it already please do. Nocturnal Animals deserves all the love.

Check out my other Analyses of movies.

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Understanding Arrival Movie | Full Arrival Movie Explained with Spoilers

Finally got some time to write the explanation of one mind bender of a movie Arrival! Such a beautiful concept the movie has that it explodes you, when you figure it all out. It is a movie that teases you with its inklings until it drops the bomb at you. But the true nature of its beauty lies in its profound direction, of how the rest of the world interprets the word ‘alien’, and their incapability to understand the unexplained.

Without wasting any more time let’s dig into it. Also, if you haven’t seen Arrival movie yet, there was no point coming to this page. You should go first watch it, read our review maybe first,  and then proceed, coz it’s full of spoilers!

Arrival Movie Explained (Major Spoilers Ahead)

The best way to understand Arrival movie is via the fact that there is no definite order to things. There are no tenses. So if you are being shown a scene that looks like a memory it could very well not be.

  • We see what appears to be a flashback of memories, frames that show our protagonist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) playing with her daughter, raising her up all by herself. Then we see her grow up to be a beautiful teen, but unfortunately one day she passes away from a disease that looks like cancer.
  • We move on to gather the profession of Louise Banks. She is a linguist who teaches in a college. That’s when 12 Alien Spaceships appear all across the globe at different locations. Everybody freaks and leave as she too gets the day off and decides to hit home. She is least interested in what’s going on, as she speaks to her mother.
  • Forgetting about the huge repercussions of Alien ships, she goes to the university yet again to find it deserted. That’s when enters the U.S. Army Colonel Weber asking for her help. She is briefed on to help them understand why the Aliens are here, as she joins the team that comprises of Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).

You can understand communication and still end up single.

Visiting a Spaceship

  • In Montana, they are brought in to check out one of the spacecrafts. On entering they find the spacecraft had its own strong gravity that explains how throwing something upwards rivets it to one side.

still of suited up scientists from Arrival movie

  • They follow the path to meet two huge aliens behind what appears like a protective glass. Ian names those heptapods Abbott and Costello in an effort to make them understand the concept of introduction.
  • It is there where they discover their language was, well, alien. Huge confusing circular symbols are drawn on the glass with a disappearing ink. With that begins ceaseless session of questions and answers in an attempt to understand what the hell the aliens were really trying to say.
  • Meanwhile, Louise Banks keeps getting visions of her daughter. Let’s not forget that! Till this point she thinks those were mere dreams. Also, Ian makes an allusion that Louise could be dreaming in a foreign language, the language of Heptapods.

The Huge Twist of Arrival

  • Then comes the huge twist. When Louise and Ian finally fixate and relate their letters to our letters, Louise asks a question about the nature of their visit. They answer with the word ‘Use Weapon’. Even though Louise is convinced that the word weapon is open to more than one interpretation, the rest of the world goes loco and opts to attack the pods instead.
  • Further communications are barred as Louise and Ian make one final attempt to understand what Abbott and Costello were trying to say. In the backdrop an explosive was put in the spaceship to knock it out of space. A series of complex messages are left by the Heptapods, to decipher in a hurry. But the bomb goes off, as Abbott saves their lives in process.
  • Ian and Louise wind up in military beds, and the spacecrafts go further up in the atmosphere for their safety. Ian deciphers the symbols that were left by the aliens to be pointing towards the concept of time. That it was nothing but one-twelfth of a gift they intended to give. Thus they figure out that the heptapods want all the nations where the 12 spaceships were present to cooperate with each other so that the intended gift can be utilized.
  • But it is too late. Chaos has ensued. Entropy of life has seeped in. All communications have failed, and the world is ready to attack the innocent ships that have come seeking our help and are hanging mid-air gawking at their certain sealed fate. That’s when a pod is sent for Louise by the heptapods.

Epic Revelation

  • It is here that we get to understand what is really happening. When she reaches the spaceship Costello communicates with her telling her that Abbott was on its deathbed.
  • When she asks the heptapod who was the girl she has been seeing, you realize that her daughter “Hannah” wasn’t actually born, and that it wasn’t a memory we were being constantly shown.
  • The heptapod explains to her that what she has been seeing (her dreams) the future all this time. That time is non-linear from their perspective.
  • 3000 years from now they would be needing humanity’s help, and that it is crucial for them to teach us how to use the gift which was nothing else but their language, something that gave us the ability to fathom time, its surreal non-linearity. If we understood that, using its help we could be helping them out in the near future somehow.

still of Louis and Ian in Arrival

Dodging off War | Arrival Ending Explained

  • When Louise returns with this epiphany, she envisions her distant future where she has managed to unite everybody, and written books on Heptapods and stuff. She is felicitated by General Shang in a United Nations meet saying that it was Louise who had changed Shang’s decision to suspend Chinese attack. To her surprise he even goes as far as to show her his personal no. that she had dialed in order to waive off the Chinese attack.
  • In the real world, China was about to attack the pods. This gives her the inkling to act quickly and so she runs for a SAT phone and calls the General on the no. from the vision. Now she doesn’t know what to say, so she scours for it in the future vision yet again, only to realize Shang telling her the exact words she said on the phone that did the trick. It was Shang’s dying wife’s last words,

“In war, there are no winners, only widows.”

  • It was the only thing that could have possibly changed Shang’s mind. With that intimate knowledge Shang calls of the strike, and the other nation’s follow suit, eventually cooperating to understand their language, the cardinal gift.
  • When the heptapods realize their job was done, they disappear.

Epilogue

We realize through plethora of allusions that the physicist she used to talk with her daughter about was none other than Ian. The following line then eventually gets delivered:

“If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?”

It gets responded immediately by Ian:

“Maybe I would say what I felt more often. I don’t know.”

Soon he adds,

“You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.”

This confirms that it is Ian that she ends up marrying. That she conceives Hannah with Ian in the near future, and that her knowledge of Hannah dying, forces Ian to leave her. That’s why we see Louise alone raising her.

But the line about the future leaves it to viewer’s imagination as to whether or not Louise would do something different to change her doomed future. Because it is after all, what she gives the aliens to learn from.

Bottomline of Arrival Movie

The bottomline in Arrival is that aliens don’t know how to save themselves from their looming downfall, their imminent death in the future. So, they have come to learn to handle this from us. So when they tap in our understanding of freewill, they have a shot at it. That they are to benefit only when we unite to understand their language. As to what is that imminent threat, we don’t know. And I think it is not important either.

The moment we work on World Peace, they leave us, because time being non-linear their impending doom gets called off, by something some human did in the non-linear version of time.

Well, to put it bluntly as I have put it, might sound stupid to some, but the thing is the movie’s true strength lies in its concealed timeline. It tries to cloud your judgment by showing glimpses from a different juncture in time. But it also patiently waits with its titanic climax to reveal everything in the end. It leaves you intensely satisfied, and that’s what a good movie should do.

Arrival is simply a work of genius. The more you think about it, the more awesome it becomes. Let your thoughts shower in.

Arrival Movie Review (2016) | Denis Villeneuve Helms a Masterpiece

Wonderstruck! Dumbfounded! Arrival movie confounds you as it crushes dams of conventions. It is the arrival of a change, a different outlook at the word ‘alien’. So many movies we have seen hitherto, all showing aliens in an ugly limelight, branding them destroyers, marauders or invaders. It used to paint the same old picture with its destructive cliches.

Arrival movie changes everything. Your perception about strangers in our land. It stresses on the fact they could be here for a reason other than war. The movie unfolds gorgeously from a stupefying elusive pickle into a mind-boggling explosive revelation. That’s the entire driving force on which Arrival runs.

Direction of Arrival Movie

Denis Villeneuve stays highly revered in my head owing to all the uncanny topics he picks. He isn’t afraid to experiment, takes bold awe-inspiring risks and literally fuels avant-garde cinema. His direction abounds with intelligence that nips at our traditions of perceiving movies. He challenges us to think, knocking us out of our comfort zone. It’s ballsy, different and simply remarkable. Something we don’t see everyday in cinema today. Primarily because such films vexes many, and then all the movies end up becoming nothing but moderate crowd-pleasers. But this man right here, never ceases to take risks.

still of Amy Adams as Louise Banks and Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly in Arrival movie

In particular I love how Denis Villeneuve imparts tranquil focus to his frames. Everything happens for a reason. It merges and overlaps with wistful thinking and asks of you to do the same. In those momentary transitions you are forced to hear your thoughts, you think of the possibilities and given his reputation try to envision the figurative side of the story.

Plot of the Arrival Movie (Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Created on a story by Ted Chiang titled ‘Story of Your Life‘ the movie runs beautifully making up stunning placid frames for its plot. To understand the movie truly you must get this first: There is no definite order! It is a ragbag of tenses. And Denis, the genius he is, intermingles them often supersedes them brilliantly amongst each other. The main theme goes like this:

Louise Banks is an insanely gifted linguist who is sought after by a US Army Colonel to communicate with alien spaceships that have landed on Earth. She meets physicist Ian Donnelly who has also been hired to accompany her for the job.

still of alien letters and symbols from Arrival movie

I loved how Denis decided to show repercussions of alien arrival. Betwixt his poised frames we get to see our world flame up in chaos, even though all alien ships did was stand still on our ground. The contextual insinuations that human mind read are beyond our grasp. It goes on to show how humans are akin bubbles waiting to explode with a mere instigation without comprehending the what, the why and the how of a situation.

What then follows is constant prodding in order to understand the language of the aliens to figure out their true purpose of visit. The final revelation is so huge (and yes it has time theory entailed) that I have decided to pen a separate article to expound it better. You can find the article here:

Arrival Movie Explained

But really, you need to watch it to experience that climactic relentless pile driver yourself.

You can buy Arrival movie here:


Music and Screenplay

The music of Arrival has been given by none other than 2 times Oscar nominee Johann Johannsson himself.  It is beautifully done, you have to live it to truly experience it. It being an art movie, limited words get spoken. But those that are there try to expand how huge the subject of language is. Also, there are pretty cool one-liners that don’t fail to titillate your ears every now and then. Like when Ian Donnelly confesses:

You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.

What also constantly elevates the movie is an artful performance by Amy Adams. Being the lead protagonist, the driving force, the film basically revolves all around her. If it weren’t for her, things would have been really different. A nod to the movie casting there! Great Job.

The Final Verdict

Arrival is not for everybody. I learnt this the hard way as I was compelled to hear two of my friends, who accompanied me to watch the movie, snore profusely throughout the movie. It was ‘their’ loss of course. Because it was only by the time we reach the end that we get to learn the colossal secret. It wraps up beautifully around the concept that eludes us throughout. It almost brings back memories from Christopher Nolan‘s magnum opus Interstellar movie.

Read Interstellar movie review.

You know what else really makes me happy? It is the director’s next colossal project. It is none other than Denis Vileneuve himself who helms the Blade Runner sequel with Jared Leto and Harrison Ford in the vanguard. Can’t wait for that one as well.

You can check out the trailer of Arrival movie here:

Big Eyes Review (2014)

An enchanting flick!

PLOT OF BIG EYES

Big Eyes is in a way reflective of a feeling every artist goes through when someone else steals credit for their work. It is a crime that Walter Keane, played superbly by Christoph Waltz, commits without batting an eye and Margaret Keane, portrayed by Amy Adams, endures for the better half of her life. Screenplay coming from Walter Keane is very reassuring as he inspires Margaret to not underestimate herself, and drops soothing lines to make her believe she is gifted.

“You shouldn’t sell yourself so cheap. Your heart’s in your work.”

BREAKING DOWN THE FLICK

Music is endearing and so is its editing. Has a constant charming pace that keeps everything strung well in place. Tim Burton’s intelligent style of film-making can be read through his thoughtful frames that occasionally drop off humorous subtleties to make things alluring and delectable.

The paintings of Big Eyes have a telling veracity that is told my numerous stunningly drawn children with their beady eyes. As Margaret expounds:

“Eyes are windows to the soul.”

Big Eyes beautifully captures the struggle one had to go through in order to be seen. Even though art was revered profusely, beginnings were still as relentless as baby steps of any creative profession.

SPOILER PAINTINGS AHEAD:

Christoph Waltz does a fabulous job as he tries to convince the whole world of his lie. It is hard to see through him. He is that good! Hell, he convinces you in the very beginning that he is for real. It is kind of a slow reveal when you start guessing his ugly facade.

MARGARET’S SILENT SUFFERING

At times you can’t help but feel sorry for Margaret and wonder why she doesn’t revolt. Trying to look at things from her perspective you realize she was pretty meek and weak. Also, he had a smooth talker for a husband who would always bring her around, probably why she was always in a constant dubitation. Also, there was moolah being pressed out on a regular basis; one of the major reasons for her mum.

You might wonder, despite the conning, Margaret does fairly well for herself, with a lie that helps both parties entailed. But for an artist who is fond of one’s work, money is always secondary. It is pride that matters the most, which Walter exploits profusely.

The fact Tim Burton doesn’t toy with the flick to make the biopic darker will compel you to raise brows. Dramatic elements don’t induce gut-wrenching feels which could be a downside to Big Eyes. But it does fairly well walking on its pleasant and bewitching theme to manifest eclipsed art and an engaging tale in its truest form.

Read more 2014 movie reviews here: 2014

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Review (2016) | Adrenaline rush

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice is as dark as it gets. The world reeks of a Batsy who isn’t afraid to decimate, a misunderstood Sups trying to prove himself to the people, and a psychotic villain Lex who has bigger roguish plans in mind.

You are not brave. Men are brave.

Zack Snyder tries to delve into an era that began it all. He had so much to cover in a screen time that allows only a part of our life to be fantastically miracle-struck. There were so many characters to visit in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice. So many criticalities to maintain without messing too much with the originality. So many action sequences to be covered, villainy to visit and a big gravitas to partake upon! Is he able to deliver? Yes! The end result is outrageously awesome!

DCEU Capes Have Come

Lo! Behold! The DC Extended Universe has finally unfurled, with a proper pledge to hold the ground this time around with Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice. Zack has found a firm understructure that promises to write some impending tales of badass. We are left with open strings that are yet to find their knots and storylines that are about to become exceptional DC stories that will rummage out all extraordinary ideas in the open.

still of Jesse Eisenberg from Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

We have finally found the Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice that we have been waiting for so long. Jesse Eisenberg nails a taut Luthor who is deranged, unhinged, has the right words in the mouth, crooked and who always seems to stay ahead of the curve. He has all the features that we expect to see in a LexCorp promenade. Watch out for his screenplay! Totally owns the show!

Nod to Batfleck

Ben Affleck walks in with the right mien right from the start as he keeps finding himself reasons to hate Superman more. The dread in his voice is real and he makes Batsy scarier and better. A nod there to Ben! Ye have been accepted!

still of Ben Affleck as Batman Batfleck in darkseid story rogue superman parallel dimension

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is brilliant too. Her entry chimes with superheroic pizzazz.

Visuals and Score

Taking the levels of action-notch up a notch are Batman v Superman’s enthralling visual effects. A mind-boggling presentation that Zack scores with just the right angles! The bombardment and the annihilation come trundling from the graves of the extraordinaire. Adrenaline finds a new high!

Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL nail the flick’s music to perfection. Watch out for areas where the notes reach a new upbeat high, and tranches at alluring lows. Complements all frames magnificently!

You can order Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition Extended Cut from here:

Spoilers Ahead

Even though there were ignorable bits in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice that try to mess with the regular flow, the consequence ups the stage of all benchmarks set prior for action movies. The Bat fighting seq that we see portrays an action akin to the video games franchise. He is ruthless and isn’t afraid to bring the house down spearheading with sheer chaos, brings complete destruction with his fighting moves.

still of Batman delivering a superpunch at a hooligan in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

Downsides of Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

Things that the movie missed out on are in creating the right air for the Keefe preparation. The editing went shoddy there, as Zack fails to cash in on Scoot McNairy’s character, a talented actor who gets lost in an epic tale. Also, the parallel dimensional vision, even though a tad self-explanatory, I have reason to believe people might not have understood the reference. I could have used one step at a time rather than a hotchpotch.

Another bit, where Diana spends hours to see what is going on in the metahuman department as daft references were made through video frames, was unnecessary and we could have lived without. One step at a time, again! Also, the scavenging for Kryptonite seemed a wee bit forced, primarily to make the superheroes encounter each other.

Then there is that weird Martha moment that seems to have been badly played. Batman is too quick to forgive Superman when he hears his mother’s name. That is possibly one of the biggest flaws in the movie. It is oddly enacted and doesn’t feel right.

Knight vs Day

The big battle between the two in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice doesn’t match the levels of what we have already perceived in comics and animated series. But it is still very good as Batsy keeps acing his blows with expert lines.

still of doomsday from batman v superman dawn of justice

Doomsday makes things even better with his presence. But I feel he deserves more screen time taking into consideration the kind of villain he is, and what he means to the comic world. We meet the popular Kryptonian end in this one, but we already knew how that was supposed to pan out! Didn’t we? 😉

Highly recommended for all DC lovers and action buffs! I choose to ignore Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie’s flaws for the sheer fact that I am a loco DC buff. So good, I am going to watch this flick again.

You can check out the trailer of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice here:

Doomsday is here! Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice first look

All hail Doomsday!

The most badass trailer of Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice has hit the world. He is here. The slayer of Superman! So we know him as. The reason Superman went missing from the comic universe for a while! He has finally made his entrance (a theatrical one) into the mainstream cinema, and he wouldn’t stop at nothing to do it again in front of zillions of live audience.

People who already know him from the DC universe have gone crazy. Those who don’t know him, the aforementioned plot details would suffice. We don’t want to spoil it for ya!

Looks: So yes even I was surprised when I saw him for the first time in the trailer. He looked more like a ninja turtle if it were not for his laser wielding eyes. Some have been abominating him saying he resembles The Abomination (The Incredible Hulk villain) from the Marvel universe. Ok yes the latter resemblance was quite uncanny. Also, where did the Doomsday mane go? His bones look great. He is big too. Boy I am reminiscent already! But we don’t really care, as long as Zack keeps the storyline awesome. I just want his direction to touch Nolan heights. And fingers crossed!

Straight from a movie doomsday laser

Something tells me, the storyline isn’t going to be exactly the same as that of the comics or the animated series. His origins from the trailer seem to be Zod’s DNA or something, with some rad Luthor perversion doing some black magic in the backdrop, which is totally unlike the original story.

Whatever the reason for his existence must be or whoever is bringing him to life, we are super-psyched to have him here and thrilled to finally see him get personified into a character that actually looks good.

The world accepts you Doomsday! Welcome!

The Unpredictable Academy: Snubs and Wins (2015)

Every year the Academy slips in a frowned spurn at a movie that is on everybody’s mind. This time ‘Boyhood’ became the bait. The coming-of-age tale that spread brilliantly over the span of 12 years, was a sure shot per se. But alas! the Oscars have a reputation in doing the unthinkable. ‘Birdman’ beat Linklater’s panache not only in Best Picture and Original Screenplay categories but also in Best Direction. The latter managed to hold its ground thanks to Patricia Arquette’s Supporting Actress win.

Not long ago when the Academy had pressed its Oscar sheet, the snubbing of great movies like ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Big Eyes’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and great actors like Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston, David Oyelowo, Helen Mirren, Bill Murray, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, had caught a lot of moss. Putting out Selma flame was a big rebuff this year since people claimed it to be a distinction on Academy’s part, not to mention the fact that a majority of voting members in the Oscar team are white.

Apart from the biggest surprise of the night, some more were strewn all along the event. Academy chose to ignore the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ franchise once again giving precedence to ‘Big Hero 6’ in the animation department. Best Editing went to ‘Whiplash’ which again was a pie in the face for ‘Boyhood’. ‘American Sniper’ losing to ‘Whiplash’ in Sound Editing was another one. ‘Interstellar’ managed only one out of its five nominations. Surprise was Zimmer’s stunning score bowing down to Desplatic rhythm. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes overlooked in the Visual Effects department came as a big blow. However, it was a close call since Interstellar’s visuals were quite brilliant as well. It was great to see Glory glorified and Feast winning the Best Short Film Animated category. Winston just had to win 😉

Here is a short summary of what happened:

  • The Imitation Game (had 8 nominations, bagged 1)
  • Boyhood (had 6, bagged 1)
  • American Sniper (had 6, managed 1)
  • Birdman (had 9, got 4)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (had 9, got 4)
  • Whiplash (had 5, got 3)
  • Interstellar (had 5, got 1)
  • Foxcatcher (had 5, received none)

‘Foxcatcher’ was overlooked big time. Given the amount of work Bennett Miller had put in to create the beauty, he needed a little Academy respect and attention. Steve Carell’s transformational looks as John du Pont at least deserved a Makeup and Hairstyling accolade.

Rumours have continuously surrounded the Academy owing to its big decisions which seem pretty biased sometimes. The one that exemplifies the obvious perfectly – Incessant snubbing of Leonardo DiCaprio despite outstanding performances throughout his life. Academy even failed to recognize exceptional knacks of Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater last night. Both are yet to bag an Oscar, and that is just sad.

I picture Academy as one old crude witch, who just loves to see the world burn. If you have a favorite the Academy would snub it and shout “In your face!” in your face. Mainstream movies never even make it to the list.

Whatever the hammer says hardly bothers us though. We know for sure, nothing is really lost. The shattered are still celebrated. We still have incredible movies to watch thanks to sensational efforts put in by excellent directors, actors and the remaining crew.

If you didn’t make it, we don’t really care. Academy is just a bunch of people with their scathing point of view. If you consider all of us – people who watch you from every corner of the world, who care about every single thought you conceived to carve something beautiful, who praise your extraordinary efforts to create what we can only imagine, those who really love your work, who really encourage you do the exceptional, the real movie buffs, for us, you are still our winners! You will never lose! Let us raise one to that!