Inside the halls of an elite arts academy, a timid music student begins to outshine her more accomplished and outgoing twin sister when she discovers a mysterious notebook belonging to a recently deceased classmate.
We spend a large chunk of our lives competing with others. It doesn’t always make sense, but when there’s only a small number of something but a large number of people want it, let the games begin. There’s seemingly nothing that can’t be competed for. Sometimes its sports, promotions, love, the last slice of pizza, and many times, when you’re a teenager, its for scholarships and trophies. Moreover, that means there’s winners and losers and some people can’t handle being the latter. Competitions can be very cutthroat and get very ugly, especially when you’ve dedicated the majority of your life to a certain skill that is the core of your competition.
We’ve seen a figure skater pay to get another skater injured, a boxer bite off the ear of his opponent, politicians slander each other, and blatant cheating on every level, all in the name of competitiveness and winning. Not only that, but much of the ugly side is due to pressure from others as well as the pressure we put on ourselves. All the blood, sweat, and tears can’t be for naught, right? With that said, what if your competition is family? What if it’s your twin? Nocturne grimly dives into this concept with great detail. Written and directed by Zu Quirke, Nocturne marries beautiful music with a grim story in a very enticing way, embodying its title. It’s tone is somber yet intense and it’s subtle layered attributes make it a very intriguing experience. It provides commentary on the pressure and difficulties of attempting a future in classically trained music as well as the pressure put on young people to succeed. The horror mystery-thriller slowly builds but gives the viewer treats along the way. Begging the question, is the character driven by the supernatural or is the supernatural driven by her? The film never gets too slow and lures you in with its beautifully haunting music. Also, the ending is wild. Overall, I enjoyed Nocturne and after researching the title, found some great music. Its rewatchability is high.
Plot & Pace
Juliet and Vivian have been playing piano for as long as they can remember. Being twins, the two have compared themselves to each other resulting in a sibling rivalry. Only thing is, Vivian doesn’t see Juliet as competition of any kind. Now as they begin their last year at the elite arts academy they attend, Juliet is really feeling the pressure to be better than her sister. Vivian has everything Juliet wants including admittance to her dream school. Juliet eventually comes across a notebook that belonged to the school’s most revered student who had recently taken her own life. Once opened things begin to drastically change for Juliet but is her manifesting what she sees or is something more sinister at play? The pacing of the film is what you would expect from a mystery thriller. It’s a slow build the events that take place in the middle keep you intrigued.
Characters & Chemistry
You could sense the disdain Juliet (Sydney Sweeney) had for Vivian (Madison Iseman) very early and from then on you knew it was going to get ugly. Sweeney’s transformation is impressive and reminiscent of an actual nocturne. The toxic one sided sibling rivalry with Iseman’s character bubbles in the most sibling way.
Nocturne will be available on October 13th on Prime Video. Enjoy and stay safe.
Director: Zu Quirke
Writer: Zu Quirke
Runtime: 1h 30m
Rating: 3.5 out of 5