Pretty, Pretty Psychodrama Nocturnal Animals Review
Tom Ford can make anyone and anything look good. I mean really good. Amy Adams in the almost impossible to wear ankle length pants and high heels? Rockin’ it. Laura Linney in full blown-out Texas conservative elder stateswoman mode? Perfection. Beautiful bad guys with super grungy hair? It actually works for them. Fleshy, naked band majorettes? Oddly mesmerizing. Dead, nude bodies on display? Fashioned so lovely that you want to cry. This is what happens when a fashion designer star (Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, and Tom Ford) becomes a movie maker. The movie’s style is transcendent.
Nocturnal Animals is a movie told in three strings. We follow the unfulfilled Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) in present time where she has received a manuscript called Nocturnal Animals written by her ex- husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal*). We also watch their story 20 years in the past as they reconnect, marry and then divorce. The third string we follow is the actual book written by Edward. It is vaguely veiled contempt of Susan and her betrayal of him in fictional form. That story stars Gyllenhaal as Tony Hastings, Isla Fisher (Laura Hastings), and Ellie Bamber (India Hastings). This thread is particularly harrowing and hard to watch. The two most interesting characters are in the storyline plot: Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) as an unconventional lawman and Ray Marcus (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) as a wildcard baddie.
This movie is truly an adult movie. There is enough violence and nudity to fill your quotient of nastiness for months. Luckily, it is graceful and stunningly beautiful violence and nudity. Bring someone that likes to discuss movies afterwards. There are no easy answers in this one and the fun will come when trying to wrap your heads around it. This movie also is reminiscent of 40’s and 50’s noir, especially in its lovely score by Abel Korzeniowski. It seems like you are watching a very dark and modern Alfred Hitchcock film.
*Dear Jake, I know you don’t like being typecast as a beautiful leading man and enjoy doing the gritty, uncomfortable roles- BUT PLEASE! For my sake, make a rom-com or something already. I have squirmed in the theater 3 times in the last four years while watching you in Prisoners, Nightcrawler and now this. I would like to enjoy you in a movie where I didn’t have to sit nervously clenched up looking at my lap for half of the movie.
Signed- A Midwest Movie Going Mom
Now playing in theaters!
DIRECTED BY: Tom Ford
WRITTEN BY: Tom Ford, based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright
SYNOPSIS: From writer/director Tom Ford comes a haunting romantic thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension that explores the thin lines between love and cruelty, revenge and redemption. Academy Award nominees Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal star as a divorced couple discovering dark truths about each other and themselves in Nocturnal Animals.
RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes