Tom Ford is an award-winning fashion designer, saved Gucci from bankruptcy, started his own label and has now directed two really good films. What have I done that’s that awesome?
OVERALL SCORE – 3.75/5
Nocturnal Animals is a 2016 drama-thriller written and directed by Tom Ford. It is based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Isla Fisher, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Armie Hammer. The film follows two separate plots of which one is fiction. An author sends his newest book to his ex-wife and her reading of the book makes up the fictional part of the story.
Nocturnal Animals might be the closest thing to Gone Girl out of all the movies which came out in 2016. It is not an exact replica of Gone Girl but it explores most of the same themes. The fun part of Nocturnal Animals is the fact that the aforementioned themes and story form only 40% of the film entirety. There is a world within a world here and this second world gives the narrative its gripping nature. There are a whole lot of things at play which shoots the rewatch-ability of the film to a higher plane. One can formulate multiple meanings and interpretations for what the film is trying to say to its characters by imposing their own (the viewer) belief systems onto it.
Tom Ford uses a Micheal Haneke-Esque directing style and it pays huge dividends. The uncomfortable display of bourgeois guilt takes center stage when the non-fictional characters are at play. The film also takes a hard left into Funny Games territory when it switches to the fictional plane. Explaining how the film plays with styles and sequencing without spoiling the film on a whole is an extremely arduous task. A whole bunch of smooth shots combined with amazing production design makes the film a visual treat. The lavish sets seem lifeless and the minimalistic ones seem teeming with possibilities. I loved the contrast the director goes for and achieves with such elan.
The performances are solid across the board. All four leads play their roles to near peerless perfection. Jake Gyllenhaal’s accent might fade out in the more shouty moments but that is a small nitpick which might even go unnoticed by most. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Shannon deserve slightly more praise for being menacing and endearing respectively. I expect nothing less than perfection from Shannon but I had no clue Kick-Ass had such a high acting range. Bravo Sir.
The film does suffer from pacing issues as it goes in and out of two parallel plots. There are a few leaps in logic which I will not go into, but they do exist. There are also a few emotional scenes which do not resonate as hard as they need to because of the way the film is presented. The film tells its story by keeping the viewer at an arm’s length from its characters and that hinders its emotional payoff.
Nocturnal Animals is one of the better films which deals with the way people choose to express emotions. It has a cast filled to the brim with a few of the most beloved actors in modern times and it has a sure-handed man behind the camera who has a clear understanding of the story he is trying to tell. It might be a slightly bumpy ride but it will most definitely get you where you need to go.
OVERALL SCORE – 3.75/5
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