Cert: 15 Runtime: 117 mins Director: Tom Ford Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Jenna Malone, Michael Sheen and Armie Hammer
When you love someone you can’t just throw it away
Tom Ford’s return to film-making is a very much anticipated warm welcome. A Single Man came out seven years ago! It was tragic, beautiful, artistic and it had feeling. The sophomore curse has grabbed many a director maybe this why Tom took so long? Regardless Nocturnal Animals is a book written by Austin Wright under the title Tony & Susan (our two main protagonists). It’s a great book and I would highly recommend anyone reading it, this review will not contain comparisons of the two. This is a stellar cast line-up and probably the best of the year might I add! So the big question what is it all about? LA art gallery owner Susan (Amy Adams) is prosperous and successful but deeply unhappy in her faltering marriage to emotionally distant Walker (Armie Hammer). Out of the blue, she receives the manuscript of a novel by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), who she dumped 19 years earlier. As she starts to read, the story springs to life on screen. It’s a gruesome, symbolism-laden West Texan revenge tale, beginning with a man named Tony (Gyllenhaal), his wife Susan (Isla Fisher) and their daughter being terrorized by a gang of good ol’ boys led by the sinister Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
Nocturnal Animals is a tale of redemption, revenge, love and cruelty. Multi layered stories are very difficult to capture, but Tom Ford makes it look like a walk in the park! The three tales are woven so well you forget sometimes you are in a different story. Obviously all three tales are utterly different. Tom Ford truly has survived the sophomore curse with Nocturnal Animals. In Ford’s stellar and meticulously made film, even side conversations have substance and pictures on walls are connected to the story line. Certain scenes alone make the film worth watching. This is a gorgeous film to look at as well, Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography echoing the story’s bleakness and the brutality of Edward’s supposed veiled threat to Susan. The combination of the visuals with Abel Korzeniowski’s dream-like score heightens the sense of escapism felt by Susan as she reads Edward’s novel.
Jake Gyllenhaal gives a great performance. It’s very seldom seeing him play such a weak character. The fact he plays two different characters shows his gravitas. Tony Hastings is a character I can relate too a lot, probably this is why I connect with this film/book a lot. Amy Adams gives a good performance also, she really doesn’t say much but her terror and fear is shown so well through her body language. Michael Shannon was on point as always never breaks character, he was utterly insane! I would be very intimidated if I was ever questioned by him. Aaron Taylor-Johnson surprised me a lot in Nocturnal Animals. I actually enjoyed his performance, he was so deranged and different for him. I would be more than happy to see more performances like this from him. Nocturnal Animals is a great film that deserves your attention. Let’s hope Tom Ford gets cracking on another film sooner rather than later.