Nocturnal Animals is the second feature film by established high end fashion designer Tom Ford as a director. It showcased at Venice, BFI London and Toronto film festivals it screens to mainstream cinema audiences November 18th 2016. Starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal it is based on the psychological thriller novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. Adams takes lead female role as a successful art gallery owner who has to reassess her earlier life choices with a previous husband after he pens a novel which contains thinly fictional disguised home truths.
It successfully explores themes of reality, memory and interpretations regarding revenge, marriage and inner turmoil in relation to life changing events unseen. A tool used well is the idea of story within in a story. As the manuscript of Tony’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) novel runs parallel to actual moments which took place within the marriage to Susan (Amy Adams) which itself is also fictional cinema the film takes on a meta tone. You want to as a viewer follow both closely to see the outcome of the unknown catalyst which transform this couples lives and personalities.
There are moments of uncomfortable deep Americana which surround an incident which alters the future of Tony and Susan. Sinister route 666 like desert roads, complete with seedy dive bars, shady cowboys and psychopathic criminals which ode to the uncomfortable atmosphere of potential high way road trip horror. It’s a stark contrast to the life we find Susan in currently as a polished, intelligent, successful woman of modern Los Angeles.
The cinematography is expected from Tom Ford’s debut with ‘A Single Man’ is highly stylised. The clean serene building spaces and immaculate make up of Amy Adam and her surroundings seem to speak to the character Susan distancing herself from the past. Both environments are depicted with a grand luxurious feel. While this adds (to for use of less used term) ‘Film Noir’ element, it can feel at times like watching a sexy perfume advert.
Essentially this is a stylish project to explore loss, revenge and human behaviour as they contemplate that they are ever changing in terms of memory of significant moments, relationships and the natural darker unconscious selfish decisions made by people which have to be confronted later in life. I found the film interesting whereabouts it explored this fully. Susan is ruffled and uncomfortable that through ex-husband Tony’s novel he has disturbed her current existence to remind her of former self in all its shades and how it affected him.
Von Von Lamunu