Nocturnal (2019) Movie Review
Nocturnal is a captivating drama directed by Nathalie Biancheri that shows just how complex relationships can be and the consequences of unspoken words. The story follows Pete (Cosmo Jarvis) who is a painter, not the artistic kind. His life is ordinary and mundane until he encounters Laurie (Lauren Coe), a 17-year-old schoolgirl who’s life is the opposite, sporadic and atypical. Pete is stuck in life being the guy who stayed while everyone left the small countryside town he lives in. Laurie is forced to move back to this same town by her mother and start anew after things don’t work out in the city.
What I love about Nocturnal is that while both Pete’s and Laurie’s day-to-day lives play out in the present -he paints different houses and she runs track after school – we slowly learn about their past lives, their mistakes and their raison d’êtres through the words that they don’t say. Their dialogue is cleverly posed to provoke intrigue and to also mask their true feelings. But at the same time we’re shown the preventable consequences their words create. Throughout the movie you ask yourself ‘why didn’t they just say it?’ which brings us back to our own reality, where the same thing tends to happen too.
Their meeting in the film is incredibly tense and streams a mix of emotions when watching. There are strong themes of miscommunication, conflict and emotional pain. These play out like a wildfire striking every character that comes too close.
I love that it’s very visually pleasing and stands out due to its grainy quality and most of its lighting is natural, giving it a ‘shot on film’ effect. The location (Yorkshire, UK) is perfectly and beautifully fitting and plays out well with the brilliant performances from all of the characters. Lastly, the use of sound is impeccable and admirable, it’s neat and natural to day-to-day life just like the lighting. Every element of the film doesn’t distract but puts emphasis and what should be the focus, which is the message that lies within the words.
I would definitely recommend this to everyone but as a disclaimer for those under 16+ or those watching with children, there is nudity, sex and drugs.
- Director: Nathalie Biancheri
- Written by: Olivia Waring and Nathalie Biancher
- Starring: Cosmo Jarvis, Lauren Coe, Sadie Frost
- Budget: $625,000 (est.)
- Running Time: 1 hour and 24 minutes
- Release Date: September 18th, 2020
Review by Ren Canga a Dublin based Cinematographer