Tom Ford has always been known for being a fashion designer, but in the past few years, he’s known to be quite well behind the camera as this is his follow up to 2009’s A Single Man, which garnered much buzz. So years later, he returns to write and direct a thriller has feels completely different from any other movie involving a story being told inside of a story based off of the 1993 novel “Tony and Susan” by Austin Wright. If that what it takes to make Nocturnal Animals almost a perfect movie, consider me satisfied.
In the film, Susan (Amy Adams) is a successful art gallery owner who’s becoming pretty unhappy with her second marriage. Her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) sent her his manuscript for his new novel called “Nocturnal Animals”. She begins reading it and the story is played out and it’s played out in a violent interpretation that might be connected to what’s happening in the present.
This is an interesting story being told. This sounded like a twisted, darker version of The Princess Bride. We get the see the visualization of Edward’s novel and it’s a story that ultimately riveting until the end. We’re shown everything through three different narrative story lines all in one that takes place in the present with Susan, the novel, and the past between Edward and Susan. It’s the kind of movies that has you connecting the dots wondering what these have in common.
The performances were outstanding including three: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon. Adam as Susan is this deep character who doesn’t feel happy and can’t sleep. And when reading this novel, there’s might just be something that could be found. She just came off from a brilliant performance in Arrival. Her performance in Arrival is better but she was excellent in this. Plus, she was also very beautiful as well. Gyllenhaal, as always, provides some emotional acting range as he’s Adam’s ex-husband and the main character in his novel Tony. He had two scenes where he just lets it all out and it was perfect. However, if there’s one performance in here that blew everyone out of the water, that’s definitely Shannon. Personally, he stole every single scene he’s in. Detective Bobby Andes was one of the coolest characters of the year as he helps out Tony in a tragedy that happened and he’s willing to do anything to help. Now I’m not a huge fan of Aaron Taylor- Johnson because sometimes he gives bland performances like in Godzilla. But in here, his character is absolutely creepy. He’s one of those guys you just wanna punch so badly.
The score by Abel Korzeniowski is some of the best of the year. It’s a beautifully shot movie with gorgeous cinematography. You can see that Ford puts so much of a visual style into making this and Nocturnal Animals might be his best work yet.
Few of the problems that surfaced that the first half was a bit hard to follow because I didn’t exactly know where they were going to go with this story. But once it picks up at a certain point, it became interesting. And the opening credits left my head scratching question brewing in my head. Just came off as odd, to be honest. And I could tell this is a Ford film we’re watching. If this was gonna be compared to anything, it’s like Gone Girl meets Hell or High Water.
This is going to be one of those movies that leave you thinking about what it all means in the end. The film also has one of my favorite endings of the year. This may require a re-watch to try making sense of some certain moments. This is well-acted, perfectly directed, and a kind of strange movie that’s unconventional, this was very surprising and complex, which is what I love.
Nocturnal Animals is stylish, captivating, and has a unique story within the story all brought together with Tom Ford’s fantastic direction and writing.