Gary Cruise’s review published on Letterboxd:
Nocturna: Side A - The Great Old Man’s Night is a mystery thriller following Ulysses. a hundred-year-old man, who is battling for redemption on his last night on earth. Faced with imminent death, he is forced to rethink his past, his present and his take on reality.
The fact that this and The Father would’ve been made roughly around the same time is crazy because this really is the horror version of the latter mentioned film. With that being said, Florian Zeller’s Oscar winning masterpiece is just as intense as a horror film at times but Nocturna: Side A - The Great Old Man’s Night fully embraces the genre and takes things one step further. With this, The Father and Natalie Erika James’ Relic, it feels like dealing with dementia within films is something that’s becoming more frequent recently, it’s a very risky move especially when delving into horror territory but thankfully, all three films deal with the subject matter respectfully without ever using it for exploitation purposes.
Nocturna is just as intense as it is emotional and heartfelt, putting the viewer inside the mind of lead character, Ulysses, played brilliantly by Pepe Soriano, during his last night on earth as he faces the regret and grief he has built up throughout his long life. Soriano provides what’s easily one of the best performances from any horror film this year. He makes so many scenes hard to watch because of how convincing and fully of raw emotion his performance is with the third act in particular highlighting the height of his powerhouse performance. Marilú Marini also provides a fantastic performance as Ulysses’ wife, Dalia, with the two of them sharing some truly heartbreaking scenes together.
This is a film that is hard hitting, intense and moving just from these amazing performances, its excellent writing and its superb cinematography. The cinematography really captures the disorientating and claustrophobic tone perfectly, utilising the singular location choice to its full advantage to make you feel like you’re going through every emotion with these characters. The soundtrack also moves the tone along in such a smooth way that always feels right and always matches the atmosphere being created in the best way possible.
Overall, Nocturna: Side A - The Great Old Man’s Night is the horror equivalent to The Father, managing to be hard hitting, intense and disorientating all whilst remaining respectful to its subject matter. The performances from Soriano and Marini are truly phenomenal, and the cinematography is incredible, making the best use out of its singular location choice. It’s one of the best films of the year and I cannot wait for Side B.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ & 1/2 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️