“Nocturnal Animals” A Definite Academy Award Contender by Tom Ford, Director/Writer/Producer!
When the title of a film uses the words ‘nocturnal’ and ‘animal’ that certainly foreshadows a dramatic narrative dealing with primordial desires and fears. Tom Ford, the brilliant fashion designer, has transmuted himself into a polymath talent. Mr Ford scores a major success as the screenplay writer who adapted an esoteric, mediocre story line,“Tony and Susan” by Austin Wright, into a sharp psychological thriller that holds you in suspense throughout the following two hours.
On the surface, the movie seems quite prosaic. It is the story of an affluent west coast gallery dealer [Amy Adams, acting at her best] who reads the long awaited novel entitled ironically, “Nocturnal Animals”, written by her former husband played by Jake Gyllenhaal.
The complicated storyline is brilliantly handled by the director, Tom Ford. He interweaves fiction and reality as he intersperses time present with time past; as well as images of the opulent west coast alongside scenes of the barren landscape of Texas.
From the very opening shots of grotesquely obese women who are part of a live media show to the frightening scenes of three sadistic strangers abusing/intimidating Jake’s wife [Isla Fisher] and his teenage daughter [Ellie Bamber], Ford compels the drama forward by masterfully contrasting scenes, dialogues, and images. In this way, the film itself becomes a work of art much like the grotesque women in the beginning of the film [ a homosexual’s lament].
Ford has created a psychological masterpiece as both the writer/director. Jake Gyllenhaal earns consideration for best actor of this year. His controlled performance as a neophyte novelist and impotent husband is one of the best he has ever played since his starring role in “Jarhead”.
Michael Shannon, the rough Texas Sheriff deserves best male supporting actor award. Shannon radiates a constant sense of imminent danger. His portrayal of a dying sheriff evinces an inevitable moral salvation terminating in a series of vengeance killings.
Revenge is the theme that permeates throughout the entire film both figuratively and literally. The object of this revenge is the complacent art dealer, Amy Adams, whose opulent life is falling apart little by little.
One more mention for best supporting actor is Aaron Taylor-Johnson. This British actor brilliantly plays Ray Marcus, a sadistic drifter who continuously taunts Jake until he meets his own destiny in a dilapidated RV.
This movie is not for the faint of heart nor for those who think that the prosaic life of a novelist can only be described as ‘boring’. “Nocturnal Animals” can you give you a steady run of nightmares, if you are not careful. Please enjoy this unusual film.
Congratulates to Tom Ford, Robert Salerno [Producer], all of the actors as well as the entire movie crew. I loved it.